Child Hunger in America

Child Hunger in America

Building on the Administration’s ongoing commitment to expanding access to opportunity and reducing food insecurity, the event brought together families, academics, practitioners, advocates, religious leaders, and federal, state, and local officials to discuss the persistence and effects of hunger in America and what must be done to ensure all American families have access to an adequate, nutritious diet.

Today, the White House will host a conversation about child hunger in America, with experts and direct service providers discussing how hunger continues to harm children across the country. Participants will discuss the role of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other core nutrition programs in ensuring American children have the fuel they need to thrive. The conversation will include SNAP recipients, academics, direct service providers, advocates, faith leaders, and federal, state, and local officials and will focus on the critical role of SNAP in reducing food insecurity and poverty, and the high-cost consequences when benefits are not enough to sustain a family to the end of the month.  The agenda for today’s event is available HERE.

The Obama Administration is dedicated to ensuring American children and families have the support they need to build a better future, especially when weathering life’s ups and downs, such as loss of a job, illness, or work that pays less than a livable wage. SNAP and other nutrition programs, like school meals, make a real and measurable difference in the lives of children and their families and provide a stronger future for the entire country. Building on its commitment to expanding access to opportunity for all, today the Obama Administration will announce additional actions to ensure American children have the food they need to grow, learn, and succeed.


  • Ensuring all low-income children have year-round access to the food they need to learn and grow. 
  • Allowing States to use Medicaid data to automatically link low-income children to school meals. 

For the entire article:



A White House Conversation on Child Hunger in America

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


1:00 PM
Opening Remarks
Secretary Thomas Vilsack, U.S. Department of Agriculture

1:20 PM
Panel: Research Evidence on Child Hunger in America and the Role of SNAP

  •  Moderator: Dr. Shiriki Kumanyika, Emeritus Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
  •  Dr. Hilary Hoynes, Professor of Public Policy and Economics, Haas Distinguished Chair in Economic Disparities, Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California Berkeley
  •  Dr. Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research; Associate Professor, Human Development and Social Policy, Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy
  • Dr. Adam Drewnowski, Professor of Epidemiology, Director, Nutritional Sciences Program, School of Public Health, University of Washington
  •  Dr. Hilary Seligman, Associate Professor, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine; Lead Scientist and Senior Medical Advisor, Feeding America
  • Dr. Parke Wilde, Associate Professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University

2:45 PM

3:00 PM
Panel: Practitioner and Beneficiary Perspectives on SNAP, Hunger, and Children’s Life Outcomes

  • Moderator: Representative Jim McGovern (MA)
  •  Dr. Sandra Hassink, Immediate Past President of the American Academy
     of Pediatrics
  •  Dawn Pierce, former SNAP recipient, Boise, ID
  •  Clint Mitchell, Principal, Bel Air Elementary School, Prince William County, V
  •  Carlos Rodriguez, Executive Director, Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean
    Counties, Neptune, NJ
  •  Les Johnson, Vice President of Grant Management Services, Area Resources for
    Community and Human Services, St. Louis, MO

4:15 PM
Closing remarks
Cecilia Muñoz, Assistant to the President and Director of Domestic Policy Council

January 27, 2016 – 1:00 PM ET
A White House Conversation on Child Hunger in America
The White House


Live Stream:


Guiding our Youth


What Are You Doing With Your Life?
When a teenager tries to break into her home, Joey Garcia asks him an unexpected question.

Dec 29, 2015 By Joey Garcia – KQED Perspectives

I was at my laptop working on a poem when I realized that late afternoon had darkened into evening. I should probably close the windows in the front of the house, I thought.

The early evening light was dim but when I walked into the kitchen, I could clearly see the young man straddling the windowsill, breaking into my home.

He was a teenager, 17 or 18 years old. I felt strangely calm, probably because of my two decades as a high school teacher and life coach for teens. So it didn’t surprise me when a sincere question came into my mind:

“What are you doing with your life?”

He froze. I asked again, louder this time, my hands flapping emphatically: “What are you doing with your life?”

Watching me carefully for a moment, he seemed to ponder the question. Then he began to back out of the window.

I told him I would count to three and yell for help.

The young man ran. With shaky hands, I closed and locked my windows, careful not to touch the one he had entered, or the screen he had removed to break in. Evidence, I thought.

When the police officer arrived, he asked me what happened. When I explained, he asked if I knew the young man. “No” I said. The officer narrowed his eyes. “Then why did you ask, ‘What are you doing with your life?'”

I don’t remember what I told him. But the truth is, I feel responsible for all kids. Every child is my child. I believe that every adult is responsible for guiding teens to maturity. We must all help every teenager we meet to navigate a path into a rewarding life.

Looking back, I think I understand why the young man ran away. To be asked, “What are you doing with your life?” is to be acknowledged as if you matter, are loved and are valued.

In the end, I committed the bolder theft. He tried to break into my house, but I tried to break into his consciousness.

For the entire article and audio interview:




Social Security Act of 1935 – 80th Anniversary

Soc Sec 80th icon

In the United States, Social Security is primarily the Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) federal program. The original Social Security Act (1935) and the current version of the Act, as amended, encompass several social welfare and social insurance programs. Social Security is funded through payroll taxes called Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax (FICA) and/or Self Employed Contributions Act Tax (SECA). Tax deposits are collected by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and are formally entrusted to the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, or the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund which make up the Social Security Trust Funds. With a few exceptions, all salaried income, up to a specifically determined amount by law (see tax rate table below) has an FICA and/or SECA tax collected on it.

For more:


The Obama Administration’s Agenda on Seniors & Social Security

“To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations. We must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market.”


Social Security Timeline:

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Happy Mother’s Day

Toya Graham and her son Michael
Toya Graham and her son Michael

Happy Mother’s Day to Toya Graham 

April 29, 2015

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest’s remarks on the topic of Baltimore resident Toya Graham’s interaction with her son Michael

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

Q One last thing. The President often has talked, when issues of racial tension have come up, about how he perceives things, or tries to look at things as a father. Toya Graham is being talked about as sort of a hero mom for her specific and videotaped interaction with her son in some of the more intense moments that occurred in Baltimore. I’m just curious — has the President seen any of that? Does he have any evaluation of it? Does he believe it is something that adds to our understanding about the role of parents in situations like this?

MR. EARNEST: I haven’t spoken to the President about this specific thing. I do feel confident in hazarding a guess that he has seen the video. The President, as he alluded to in the Rose Garden yesterday, does believe that there is a role for parents to play there in terms of setting guidelines and doing right by their kids. He also pointed out that there are certain policies and certain situations where it’s virtually impossible for parents to do right by their kids. And trying to confront those obstacles to responsible parenting is one thing that we all need to take responsibility for and not just pin that responsibility on police officers who already have a very difficult job.

But the President, even dating back to his first presidential campaign — and you covered some of these events — remember that the President, in rather colorful fashion on occasion, talked about how important it is for parents to impose some guidelines and to impose some structure on their kids, and that that was going to be critical to their success, and that there is a lot, there’s a significant role for the government to play in terms of putting in place policies — like good schools, economic opportunity, early childhood education, even making sure that kids have good access to health care I think are in line with the kinds of things that the government can do to try to address some of these endemic problems.

But the President also believes that we should not overlook the critically important role that parents can play in setting some guidelines and setting some structure for their kids to give them a chance to succeed.

Q Based on your memory and my memory of that particular speech — and you, I’m sure, have seen the video, you have a hunch the President has seen it. Without saying whether or not the President would have acted in a similar way or endorse Michelle asking in a similar way, do you think he would generally be okay with what he saw and this ultimate result, which was to discourage her son from participating further in the activity?

MR. EARNEST: Well, I think what I — why don’t I just say it this way. I think what resonated with me is — and he has got a lot more experience being a parent than I do, but let me just say what resonated with me —

Q As do I. (Laughter.)

MR. EARNEST: As do you. So maybe we should hear what resonated with you. But let me just say that the thing that resonated with me was her expression that she was concerned about her son facing the same fate as Freddie Gray. And while I’m sure that it was not the immediate reaction of her son to feel like she was looking out for his best interest, there is no doubting that her reaction was one that was rooted in her concern for his safety and his well-being and her love for her child. And I think that is a very powerful expression about the role that parents can play, that that expression of love was very conspicuous and one that I think will serve as a powerful influence on that young man’s life.

And that same kind of passion and concern and love for the well-being of one’s child I do think is the kind of thing that can contribute to a young man or woman having the kind of opportunity to succeed that a lot of other kids don’t get.

WH Mothers Day 2015


Happy Mother’s Day


33rd Annual Protecting Our Children Conference

Native American Tribal map

National Indian Child Welfare Association’s
Protecting Our Children Conference

April 19, 2015 11:00 ET to April 22, 2015
6:00 ET
Portland, Oregon

33rd annual Protecting Our Children Conference is hosted by the National Indian Child Welfare Association, the event is the nation’s largest gathering on American Indian and Alaska Native child advocacy issues. This three-day conference creates a space where participants can learn about the latest information across Indian Country in child welfare.  Conference attendees are a cross-section of experts including child welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice service providers; legal professionals; students; advocates for children; and tribal and federal leaders. This year’s conference theme is “Healing from Trauma: Supporting Native Communities, Family, and Children.”

NICWA Facebook


Bill aims to keep American Indian children with families

 Published on Tuesday, 07 April 2015 21:37 Written by ANNA GRONEWOLD, Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – While applying for her driver’s license at age 16, Karen Hardenbrook saw her birth certificate and learned what her adoptive parents from Broken Bow never told her: she was born in Winnebago and her mother was a member of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska. As a baby, the state removed her from her biological grandmother’s crowded home on the reservation.

Today Hardenbrook, 57, lives on the Omaha Reservation in Walthill. She’s an enrolled member but at times still feels like an outsider.

“I had a wonderful, beautiful (adoptive) home. I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” Hardenbrook said. “But I still wish I would have never left the res. I would have learned to dance. I would have learned to sing the songs. Now when I get out to the arena, I have to watch everyone, at 57 years old, because I don’t know the steps.”

A bill slated for a committee vote this week in the Nebraska Legislature would further strengthen protections of cultural identities for children like Hardenbrook by engaging tribal government and extended family mediation before removing children from tribal homes.

In 1978, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act in response to what it deemed “a crisis of massive proportions.” Between 25 percent and 35 percent of American Indian children were living in out-of-home placement, endangering the preservation of already dwindling American Indian tribes.

For more:


Impoverished tribe faces surge in teen suicides

Tuesday, 14 April 2015 15:19 Written by REGINA GARCIA CANO, Associated Press

PINE RIDGE, South Dakota (AP) – The people of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation are no strangers to hardship or to the risk of lives being cut short. But a string of seven suicides by teenagers in recent months has shaken this impoverished Midwestern U.S. community to its core and sent school and tribal leaders on an urgent mission to stop the deaths.

On Dec. 12, a 14-year-old boy hanged himself at his home on the reservation, a sprawling expanse of badlands on the border between the states of South Dakota and Nebraska. On Christmas Day, a 15-year-old girl was found dead, followed weeks later by a high school cheerleader. Two more teenagers took their lives in February and two more in March, along with several more attempts. The youngest to die was 12.

Somewhere between 16,000 and 40,000 members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe live on the reservation, which at over 2 million acres (nearly 1 million hectares) is among the largest in the U.S. Famous as the site of the Wounded Knee massacre, in which the U.S. Army slaughtered about 300 tribe members in 1890, it includes the county with the highest poverty rate in the U.S., and some of the worst rates of alcoholism and drug abuse, violence and unemployment. Life expectancy for men is below 50 years, the lowest in the Western Hemisphere.

For more:


April 08, 2015

Remarks of First Lady Michelle Obama for White House Convening on Creating Opportunity for Native Youth
Washington, DC

Good morning everyone, and welcome to the White House. We are so thrilled to have you here today for our Generation Indigenous convening.I want to start by thanking Walter Isaacson and Senator Dorgan for their outstanding leadership and for the terrific work that they’re doing at the Aspen Institute.

And as for T.C – there really are no words to express how proud I am of this young man and how impressed I am by his courage, determination and maturity. Barack and I were blown away by T.C. and by the other young people we met when we visited T.C.’s tribe, the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, last June. And I want to start off today by telling you a little bit about that visit.

It began when we arrived in North Dakota, and as we left the airport where we’d landed, we looked around, and all we could see was flat, empty land. There were almost no signs of typical community life, no police stations, no community or business centers, no malls, no doctor’s offices, no churches, just flat, empty land.

Eventually, we pulled up to a little community with a cluster of houses, a few buildings, and a tiny school – and that was the town of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, which is part of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. And at that school, a small group of young people gathered in a classroom, anxiously but quietly waiting to meet with the President and the First Lady.

These teens were the best and brightest – hand-selected for this meeting – and after we all introduced ourselves, they shared their stories.

One young woman was in foster care because of substance abuse in her household. She talked about how hard it was to be separated from her five siblings. One young man had spent his high school years homeless, crashing on the sofa of his friends, even for a period living in the local community center. Another young man had gotten himself into college, but when he got there, he had trouble choosing the right classes; he realized that he’d never been taught how to properly write an essay; and when family problems arose back home, he struggled to balance all the stress and eventually had to drop out.

And just about every kid in that room had lost at least one friend or family member to drug or alcohol-related problems, or to preventable illnesses like heart disease, or to suicide. In fact, two of the girls went back and forth for several minutes trying to remember how many students in their freshman class had committed suicide – the number was either four or five…this is out of a class of 70.

For more:




WASHINGTON – Last week, Secretary Jewell kicked off President Obama’s Native Youth Listening Tour. The tour is a key part of the Obama Administration’s Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) initiative, a program meant to break down barriers standing between Native youth and their opportunity for success.

The Department of the Interior put together this short video below to show why the Administration is doing this listening tour and why it’s important for the next generation of Indian Country.


Ending Youth Homelessness

Luke Tate May 08, 2015

No young person should lack a stable and safe home, or be without a caring adult they can count on. Too many of America’s youth have been robbed of that essential foundation — and thanks to the extraordinary work of practitioners and volunteers across the country, we are learning what it takes to reestablish that footing and end youth homelessness nationwide.

In 2012, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) issued the Framework to End Youth Homelessness detailing the steps necessary to achieve the goal of ending youth homelessness by 2020, and strategies to improve outcomes for children and youth experiencing homelessness. This framework articulates the need for government, non-profit, civic, and faith community partners to focus together on the overall well-being of youth experiencing homelessness — addressing not just their need for stable housing, but also their educational and employment goals, and the importance of permanent adult connections in their lives.

It’s clear that success in those ambitious goals requires better data on youth experiencing unaccompanied homelessness, stronger capacity in the systems and organizations serving youth directly, and clearer evidence on what works. To advance those efforts, last week we welcomed youth, service providers, advocates, policymakers, and researchers to the White House on 40 to None Day, for an afternoon of discussions on the strongest approaches for serving youth in need, and the path forward, leveraging better data and evidence and strengthening our partnerships to end youth homelessness.

For more:

Champions of Change: Native American Youth Leaders

In honor of the National Native American Heritage Month, the White House honored eleven Native American Youth leaders as Champions of Change. These young people are Champions in their tribes and communities as they work to improve the lives of those around them through innovative programs that help others, raise awareness of important issues like suicide and bullying prevention, energy efficiency and healthy eating. Watch the video from the Champions of Change discussion with White House and Administration officials which focused on the great work that these young people do every day.


US Government & Indigenous Peoples Timeline 1819-2014 Civil Rights Timelines ™



137th White House Easter Egg Roll

WH Easter Egg Roll logoWH Easter Egg Roll 2015

2015 WH Easter Egg Roll logo

The White House Easter Egg Roll is a tradition that dates to 1878. Originally, young children in Washington, DC, would flock to Capitol Hill every Monday after Easter for egg rolling and a day of activities. Members of Congress grew tired of the growing crowds and passed an Act of Congress which prohibited egg rolling on the Capitol grounds. The event was moved to the White House in 1878 after President Hayes was approached by young children to use his backyard to roll eggs. Nearly every Easter since, the White House has invited young children to roll eggs on the White House lawn.

Today, the Easter Egg Roll has grown from a few local children rolling eggs on the White House lawn to become the largest event held at the White House, filled with live entertainment, sports and interactive cooking demonstrations. And, of course, the traditional rolling of the Easter eggs. The Easter Egg Roll promotes healthy and active living and is designed for children 13 years of age and under.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle announced the theme for this year’s White House Easter Egg Roll: “#GimmeFive”  Part of the President and First Lady’s ongoing effort to open the White House to as many people as possible, the event will open its South Lawn for children ages 13 years and younger and their families.   In support of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative to help kids grow up healthy and  have the opportunity to reach their full potential, the event will feature sports courts, cooking stations, and, of course, Easter egg rolling in addition to live music and storytelling.

National Park Foundation (NPF), the official charity of America’s national parks, produces and sells the White House Easter egg.  An egg is given as a souvenir to all children 13 years and younger who attend the White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House, which is part of the National Park System. To place your commemorative egg order, please visit, and follow the link to the online Easter egg store.

Visit the Official White House website to view photos and videos of past events and learn more about the history of the White House Easter Egg Roll.

Follow the Easter Egg Roll on Twitter with the hashtag #EasterEggRoll

WH 2014 Easter Egg Roll banner

April 6, 2015

8:00 AM ET
137th White House Easter Egg Roll South Lawn Live Stream:

10:30 AM ET
President Obama and First Lady Michelle delivers remarks at the 137th Annual White House Easter Egg Roll
South Lawn


Call on Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act

FACT SHEET: White House Unveils New Steps to Strengthen Working Families Across America

Tomorrow, the President will unveil new proposals to strengthen the middle class by giving working families the flexibility to balance their families and jobs and giving all Americans the opportunity to earn sick days.  Building on the steps the Administration announced last year during the first-ever White House Summit on Working Families, tomorrow’s announcement includes:

  • Calling on Congress, as well as States and cities, to pass legislation [The Healthy Families Act] that would allow millions of working Americans to earn up to seven days of paid sick time per year;
  • Proposing more than $2 billion in new funds to encourage states to develop paid family and medical leave programs and announcing that the Department of Labor will use $1 million in existing funds to help States and municipalities conduct feasibility studies; and
  • Modernizing the Federal workplace by signing a Presidential Memorandum directing agencies to advance up to six weeks of paid sick leave for parents with a new child and calling on Congress to pass legislation giving federal employees an additional six weeks of paid parental leave.

The challenge of balancing work and family has grown as families have shifted so that today in most families all parents work and all parents contribute to caregiving.  Across married and single parent families, all parents are working in more than 60 percent of households with children, up from 40 percent in 1965.  And today, more than 60 percent of women with children under the age of 5 participate in the labor force, compared with around 30 percent in the 1970s.  Yet the fundamental structure of work has not kept pace with the changing American family, and many families are struggling to balance obligations at home and on the job. In fact, the United States remains the only developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave.

That is why the President is announcing additional efforts to help working families that build on the steps he announced at last June’s White House Summit, including support for states to design paid leave programs and a Presidential Memorandum that established a “right to request” flexible workplace arrangements for Federal workers and directed Federal agencies to expand flexible workplace policies to the maximum possible extent. The White House Council on Economic Advisers also released a report ( last June on the economic benefits of paid leave. From increasing the minimum wage, to equal pay for women, to workplace flexibility, to child care, to paid leave – President Obama is taking action on issues that impact America’s working families.

For more:


Maternity Leave Law by Countries

The United States it the only developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave.