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Report Tries to Rally Illinois as a “Kid Nation”

February 27, 2008

Chicago, IL – Illinois needs to join the "kid nation," according to a report released today by the Children’s Defense Fund Action Council. It tracks how the state's Congressional delegation voted on children's topics over the past year, and Illinois ranks 21st among the 50 states.

CDFAC spokesman Ed Shelleby says the group hopes to rally the Illinois delegation to focus more on children's issues such as poverty, health care and education.

"All of these children have multiple strikes against them, and we are sending tens of thousands of children to prison every year."

Hawaii came in first in the non-partisan rankings. Critics of the report say tracking votes doesn't address the complexity of the issues and how they might affect taxpayers, or businesses.

Shelleby says that overall Congress did better on children's issues than in past years.

"They passed the first minimum wage increase in a decade, they made improvements to Head Start to prepare children for school, they gave additional funds for students so that more children could go to college."

He says the only big misstep was failure to override a presidential veto and expand health care coverage.

The full report is at www.cdfactioncouncil.org

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - IL