Keeping Kids a Priority

By Dan Saltzman of Portland, Oregon. Dan is a member of the Portland City Council.

At a time when President Bush is proposing cutting funding for after school programs serving 300,000 children, I believe it is even more important that local communities step up and commit to supporting our children. That is why I asked my fellow Portland City Council members to place a renewal of the Portland Children’s Investment Fund Levy on the ballot this November.

The Children’s Investment Fund was created by Portland voters in 2002 to support cost-effective proven programs designed to provide kids who might otherwise grow up without a healthy start succeed in school and in life.

The Fund invests in programs that help protect kids from child abuse; provide safe after school and mentoring activities to reduce the number of kids that fall victim to violence; and gets at risk children to school ready to learn. It supports programs for nearly 16,000 kids every year. This November, in addition to our program areas we have we will also be asking voters to invest in a new program area – programs that help foster children succeed.

When we invest in our kids now, we make a huge investment in all of our futures. To make our kids a higher priority we can not just pass the buck and rely on the federal and state government to take care of our children – local communities, like Portland need to take action, our children deserve it.

  • Geoff Brown (unverified)

    The Children's Investment Fund is a great idea. We need to stop child abuse in its tracks, and this Fund could provide much-needed help. By the way, there's a new online tool for teachers who notice possible signs of child abuse in a student, but who are unsure of how to talk to the child about it. It's a role-playing course which lets teachers rehearse a conversation with a possible child abuse victim. There's a free trial version (120+ pages) and a CEU-credit version. Portland teachers might find it useful, and let's hope that the Children's Investment Fund becomes reality this year.

  • helys (unverified)

    Thank You Dan. I agree the programs funded by the Childrens Investment Fund are great value. Putting money into kids -- into effective programs that work like Head Start and the Peninsula Childrens program Big Brothers and Sisters etc -- is smart. When it comes to crucial services for children it's a case of Pay now or pay a whole lot more later. That's quite apart from the fact that all kids deserve to be safe, and have decent lives.

  • Jeff Cogen (unverified)

    Thanks for your leadership, Dan. Lots of politician say they care about kids. You are the rare one who actually has made a real difference in the lives of our children.

  • tim.K (unverified)

    It is so heartwarming that you are all so concerned about kids that you want to extract more money out of the taxpayers pockets to hand it over to do gooders.

    Oddly, your kid focus seemed to blur when it turns our our public schools and the unions that control them are passing child molesters around so they can abuse again, so long as no union teachers are held accountable.

    Not a single freaking post on BlueOregon. Not worthy of mention by anyone here. Not news.

    But sure, lets give Saltzman more money to show how much we care about kids!

  • (Show?)

    Uh, Tim... you know where the guest column link is.

  • (Show?)

    Now THAT would be funny: a "taxpayer protection" post, here at BlueOregon.

  • Opinionated (unverified)

    This may be unrelated to this post, but its a kids issue that is begging attention. Thousands of young children in Oregon other states with out-dated family law system suffer the loss of one parent in a divorce because the it favors one parent (usually mother who is in general the primary care giver) in case that parent disagrees to equally share custody (both legal and physical) of the children. It has become a systemic problem and the system encourages mothers to refuse to share custody even though the father is willing and available.

    Mother's in that case typically get sole custody and majority of parenting time and the father is marginalized to a weekend dad with little mid-week time. Kids in such situations get caught up in the middle of expensive high conflict legal battles and get hurt. Studies have shown that kids fair best when there is shared custody which gives both parent equal opportunity to be involved in their upbringing. It reduces conflict between divorcing parents.

    Oregon is one of the few states where joint custody is not a rebuttable presumption and family courts are reluctant to grant equal time to both parents. The silent sufferers - the kids! Most kids in the juvenile system are from single family homes where one parent is missing. Past efforts to change this law have been thwarted by special interest lobby serving the divorce industry.

    With new laws on domestic partnership in Oregon, the lines between "mom" and "dad" are even more blurried... how long will these kids suffer... Some food for thought!

    I have an opinion about this!

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