Our Advocacy

Our government systems are failing children, families, and communities. They deserve better. The time to invest in families and solutions that lift up children is now.

Children’s Rights works to transform unjust government systems that inflict harm on children, families, and communities. Our advocacy centers on exposing systemic flaws and building solutions that will advance children’s rights for generations.

Key Facts

The Issues


The nation’s mental health crisis is impacting more children than ever before, particularly children from low-income families, communities of color, and children who identify as LGBTQ+. Children’s Rights is calling for a community-based response rooted in equity and compassion. Access to intensive community- and home-based mental health care services improves the quality of life for children, increases emotional and behavioral strengths, and keeps families together.

Healing happens at home.

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Children belong at home. But when a state determines that parents can’t take care of their children, child welfare law prioritizes placing them in a family setting, preferably with relatives, not strangers. Yet every year, thousands of kids wind up in institutions where many will be abused and neglected. Children’s Rights works to end this harmful practice and ensure families have the support they need to stay together. 

Children belong in families, not facilities.

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Under U.S. law the federal government must adhere to standards for the treatment, placement, and release of immigrant children detained in its custody. In the courts and through the media, Children’s Rights is calling on the Administration to end the illegal and immoral practice of holding immigrant children in over-crowded, unsafe, and inhumane detention facilities – and treat them with the respect and dignity every child deserves.   

Children need care, not cages.

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More laws and policies are granting states and institutions the license to discriminate against LGBTQ+ and gender non-conforming children and their prospective families, allowing providers and agencies to refuse services. Children’s Rights is fighting to ensure that no child is discriminated against or denied the right to a supportive and affirming family simply because of who they are.

Children deserve acceptance, not discrimination.

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Every day, unjust child welfare laws and policies subject Black and Indigenous families to surveillance, policing, and discrimination, imposing unwarranted government intervention that breaks families apart. Children’s Rights challenges racist, discriminatory laws and policies that punish parents experiencing poverty by taking their children and unnecessarily placing them in foster care. 

Children and families should be supported, not reported.

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The juvenile legal system has a negative impact on mental and physical health outcomes for children. Detention interferes with healthy development, exposes youth to abuse, undermines educational attainment, exacerbates pre-existing trauma, and puts children at greater risk of self-harm. Children’s Rights’ work focuses on reducing the number of youth in detention, and when that is not possible, we fight to ensure their safety and well-being.

Locking up children doesn’t help – it hurts.

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