Programs and Campaigns

Programs and Campaigns image of kids

For over 35 years nationally, and almost two decades in New York, the Children’s Defense Fund has worked closely with state and local child advocates as well as national and state organizations serving children to level the playing field for children through a variety of campaigns and initiatives. CDF has worked to educate the public about policies and issues impacting children’s lives, and has provided the public with information and tools to improve the lives of children.

Our current campaigns and programs build upon this long legacy of success by empowering communities and advocates to create the change our children urgently need.


Raise the Age NY

Raise the Age New York is a public awareness campaign that includes national and local advocates, youth, parents, law enforcement and legal representative groups, faith leaders, and unions that have come together to increase public awareness around the need to implement a comprehensive approach to raise the age of criminal responsibility in New York State so that the State’s criminal justice system responds to all children as children, and services and placement options better meet the rehabilitative needs of all children and youth.

Child Health NOW! Coalition (CHNow!)

Through our Child Health Now! Coalition, CDF-New York brings together a robust group of stakeholders – namely medical providers, social service agencies, educators, city and state administrators, and community leaders – on a quarterly basis to learn about initiatives and programs impacting New York’s children and youth.  To read more and/or download materials from our most recent meeting, click here.

Affordable Care Act Outreach

Overview of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
The passage of health care reform

President Obama signed The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law on March 23, 2010.  Referred to as health care reform or Obamacare, this law makes a number of changes to health insurance and health care in the United States. As of January 2015, approximately 1.9 million New Yorkers have enrolled in coverage.  Nearly 90% of enrollees were uninsured at the time they applied for coverage.  Many of these consumers enrolled in Medicaid because of increased eligibility and simplified enrollment, and many others now have access to affordable private coverage through subsidies now available on the state health insurance exchange, known as NY State of Health: The Official Health Plan Marketplace (The Marketplace).


Cradle to Prison Pipeline® Campaign

The Children’s Defense Fund’s Cradle to Prison Pipeline® Campaign, represents an urgent call to action to stop the funneling of tens of thousands of youth, predominantly minorities, down life paths that often lead to arrest, conviction, incarceration, and diminished futures. The prison pipeline is fueled by pervasive poverty, racial disparities, inadequate access to health and mental health care, gaps in early childhood development, disparate educational opportunities, chronic abuse and neglect, and overburdened and ineffective child serving systems. CDF is working with partners across the country to engage communities, policy makers, legislators, communities of faith and other stakeholders to work together to dismantle the cradle to prison pipelines in their community – and to build the pipelines to success. Learn more about CDF-New York efforts to dismantle the Cradle to Prison Pipeline and how you can get involved.


CDF Beat the Odds® Scholarship Program

CDF's annual Beat the Odds program honors, celebrates and rewards extraordinary high school seniors who have overcome tremendous adversity to achieve academic excellence, demonstrate leadership in their communities, and aspire to attend college to continue their education. Since 2001, CDF-New York has awarded more than 25 college scholarships to outstanding youths in the New York City area. Many recipients have gone on to pursue advanced degrees and leadership positions in their communities. Learn more about the CDF Beat the Odds Scholarship program in New York and how you can get involved.

CDF Freedom Schools® Program

The CDF Freedom Schools program provides summer and after-school enrichment that helps children fall in love with reading, increases their self-esteem, and generates more positive attitudes toward learning. Children are taught using a model curriculum that supports children and families around five essential components: high quality academic enrichment; parent and family involvement; civic engagement and social action; intergenerational leadership development; and nutrition, health and mental health. Learn more about the CDF Freedom Schools program in New York and how you can get involved.