Sheila Kamerman

Recent Articles

Starting Right: What We Owe Children Under Three

Although America has begun to make significant commitments to improve the lives of children, we still have done little for the under-threes. Other countries reap broad social benefits from coherent family policies. Why can’t we?

Were rhetoric a true measure of behavior, the United States would be the most child-centered nation in the world. Our leading child-development experts stress the importance of the first few years of life, and most Americans, when asked, say that the experts are right. Last fall, when world leaders gathered in unprecedented number at the United Nations for a World Summit for Children to pledge more resources for child health and welfare, George Bush asserted that "our children are our mirror, an honest reflection of their parents and their world." In fact, the conditions facing many of America's children are a mirror of chronic political ambivalence and stalemate. Over the last twelve years, three national commissions -- the current National Commission on Children, the 1980 White House Conference on Families, and the 1979 National Commission of the International Year of the Child -- have been largely ignored, new initiatives were long bottled up in Congress, and by almost every...