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Background

Since its founding in 1995, Children’s Rights has used strategic litigation, advocacy and public education to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children across the USA.

Children’s Rights’ work is focused on ensuring that government systems that care for children actually do what they are legally required to do: protect children. Through litigation and policy initiatives, the organization identifies failing and dangerous systems throughout the U.S. and promotes changes that will improve children’s lives.

Children’s Rights goes to court to establish the rights of children to be protected from maltreatment and raised in safe, healthy, permanent homes—and to secure court orders that mandate top-to-bottom reform of the child welfare systems that violate these rights. The organization’s legal campaigns force open the doors of systems that lack the transparency and accountability necessary to identify and fix problems that often have plagued them for many years.

Impact

Children’s Rights has won landmark victories affecting hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children in more than a dozen states. Nationwide, reform campaigns have secured billions of dollars in additional child welfare funding and initiated improvements to ensure that those funds are spent more effectively. Some examples of progress due to our advocacy include:
  • In Milwaukee, in 2009, only half of children in foster care received a timely medical evaluation upon entering foster care, and 25 percent did not receive an annual medical exam, which is critical to assess a child’s physical and emotional wellbeing and needs. By 2017, 87 percent of children received timely medical evaluations upon entering foster care, and 93 percent were provided with annual medical exams, ensuring that children remain healthy in state custody.
  • Between 2004 and 2017, Connecticut reduced the placement of children in congregate care, instead of family foster homes, by 84 percent. In addition, between 2008 and 2017, the number of children languishing in inappropriate “temporary” facilities for more than two months was reduced by 85 percent.
  • In South Carolina, in 2015, the state’s call center failed to appropriately evaluate reports of abuse or neglect more than half of the time, leaving vulnerable children in danger. By 2018, the state’s call center appropriately screened 88% of all calls.

CRY America’s grant to Children’s Rights in 2018-2019 will be directed towards general operating expenses to enable the organization to significantly improve its ability to defend the rights of vulnerable children and to enable sustainable systemic changes through need-based litigation.