WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) will introduce the Children’s Act of 2010, a bill to address the challenges facing our nation’s youth by establishing a National Council on Children. The First Focus Campaign for Children, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization, voiced its strong support for the legislation, which aims to establish the United States as a frontrunner in improving the lives of children.

Specifically, the National Council on Children will annually assess the performance of the United States in ensuring the well-being of children. In addition, the Council will develop a set of national goals to improve the lives of youth, and make recommendations to advance children’s well-being.

“It’s in our nation’s best interest to raise the most healthy, most educated, best-prepared children in the world for the challenges that lie ahead. Yet on virtually every index, America’s children are falling behind. Today in America one in five kids is born into poverty, 30 percent of students fail to graduate from high school, and 8 million children lack health insurance,” said Bruce Lesley, president of the First Focus Campaign for Children. “A coordinated, national action plan to improve child well-being is essential to raise the visibility of children in federal policy, solidify our commitment to the nation’s future, and ensure that we can meet the needs of the next generation. We applaud Senator Dodd and Senator Casey for their leadership in introducing this important piece of legislation which will generate momentum for improving the lives of our nation’s youth.”

Senator Dodd is the Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families.

“The subcommittee has provided an important forum for our country’s elected leaders and children advocates to focus on the needs of our children. And it has played a vital role, shedding light on the struggles our nation’s children face,” said Senator Dodd. “What we have learned is that our children are in crisis. It is critical that we create a new national council on children to closely examine the needs of children and identify solutions to improve their lives. With Senator Casey’s deep understanding of the challenges children in America face, I am confident he will be able to champion this important effort in the next Senate. It is time to put a specific and targeted focus on our children, the future of our country, and create a national council on children.”

“I am pleased to partner with Senator Dodd on the Children’s Act of 2010 which will provide an opportunity to help a new generation of children and families,” said Senator Casey. “By creating a National Council on Children, we will be able to help our nation and leaders in the public, private and non-profit sectors to develop a road-map to ensure that the current generation of young Americans has as many opportunities to succeed as possible. And we will ensure that even in challenging times, American families have the support they need to raise healthy families. Senator Dodd’s dedication and work on children’s issues during his time in the United States Senate has improved the lives of millions of children.”

In 1991, a former National Commission on Children approved a blueprint for national policy to benefit America’s children and families. In response, Congress and the President expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit, created the Child Tax Credit, and established the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The goal of the new National Council on Children would be to catalyze the next generation of groundbreaking policies for children and families.

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