Press Release

Contact: Michele Kayal
Phone: 703-919-8778

120 lawmakers prioritize children, new scorecard says

117th must build on momentum to tackle challenges, opportunities

One-hundred-and-twenty members of Congress made children a priority in 2020, according to a new analysis by First Focus Campaign for Children, laying the groundwork to tackle the pandemic’s challenges and the opportunities presented by the new Administration.

First Focus Campaign for Children identifies 40 Senators and 80 members of the House of Representatives as “Champions” or “Defenders” of children in its 2020 Legislative Scorecard, released today. Champions and Defenders earned their title by repeatedly using their legislative power to prioritize the well-being of our nation’s children — sometimes against the instruction of their party leadership. Lawmakers from the Northeast are most likely to be Champions or Defenders. Lawmakers from the Southeast are least likely.

“Every aspect of children’s lives is being affected by the pandemic,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus Campaign for Children. “Courageous members of Congress — like the Democrats and Republicans named here — must move decisively to combat the hunger, homelessness, increased poverty and social and emotional ills inflicted on our kids by COVID-19 and its economic fallout. We also fervently hope that lawmakers of both parties will work with President Biden to re-open schools, cut child poverty in half, address racial injustice, restore health care to kids who have lost it and enact other initiatives aimed at improving the lives of our nation’s 74 million children.”  

FFCC’s 2020 Legislative Scorecard ranks policymakers according to votes and bill sponsorships taken during 116th Congress (2019-2020) that prioritize the well-being of our nation’s children. The 45-page report examines key pieces of legislation on children’s health insurance, child hunger, homelessness, tax credits, treatment of immigrant children, international adoption and other issues critical to advancing the needs of our kids and families. The report names 40 Senators and 80 Representatives, from both parties, as Champions or Defenders for children in the 116th Congress.

Some key takeaways from the 2020 Scorecard:

  • Women were nearly three-times more likely than men to be Champions or Defenders.
  • Percentage of delegations who are Champions or Defenders breaks along regional lines:
    • 42% of lawmakers from the Northeast are Champions or Defenders
    • 37% of lawmakers from in Western states are Champions or Defenders
    • 24% of lawmakers from the Midwest are Champions or Defenders
    • 9% of lawmakers from the Southwest/Plains states are Champions or Defenders
    • Just 5% of lawmakers from the Southeast are Champions or Defenders. 

For a full look at the regional breakdown — including regional leaders and the lowest scoring members — visit the First Focus Campaign for Children blog at

Please view and download the full report at