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Opinion

Help create a movement for nation's children

Stand for Children We are in the middle of an urgent crisis with regard to the deteriorating conditions for children in this country. Urgent crisis, you say? I hope the following statistics will create a sense of urgency for all who read them.
   The U.S. is #1 in the developed world for economic output and for military spending. Yet, 15.7 million--23 percent--of all U.S. children live in poverty. Every day, 26 children die from poverty-related causes. (This relates to approximately one classroom in Washington state "disappearing" every 50 days.) Every 4 hours, a child commits suicide. Every 9 seconds, a child drops out of school, and every 14 seconds, a child is arrested.
   Because of lack of funding, only one-third of the eligible children can participate in Head Start, a comprehensive preschool program. For every $1 we invest in Head Start, we save $4.75 over a child's lifetime.
   WIC (Women, Infants, and Children's) specialized supplemental feeding program is under-funded, also. For every $1 we invest in WIC, we save $3.50 in Medicaid costs.
   By nearly every measure, the condition of children in the U.S. over the last decade has dramatically worsened, and despite the usual election rhetoric, this trend continues to be ignored.
   A "Stand for Children" will be convened on June 1 in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Children's Defense Fund and 1,200 organizations. This is the moment for every American who cares about children to stand up--and be counted.
   I would urge readers to help create a movement for our nation's children by writing and speaking to members of Congress in support of programs (like Head Start and WIC) that make a difference in protecting our children's future. For more information about "Stand for Children," please call 1-800-233-1200.
   I would urge the Woodinville Weekly and its readers to help make children's issues a priority in the 1996 presidential and congressional campaigns. Yes, it is a crisis and we need to act with urgency. It's time to stop hurting children!

Carol Merrell, Woodinville