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Our mission at Committee for Children is to foster the safety and well-being of children through social-emotional learning and development. One of the ways we do this is by advocating at both the national and state levels for policies and laws that support social-emotional learning in schools and protect children from sexual abuse and bullying. Each year, we host a Congressional Briefing in Washington, DC, and a Lobby Day in the WA State capitol, and we work with legislators across the country to support laws and policies that are in line with our mission.

Our advocacy work to foster the safety and well-being of children

Lawmakers Liking SEL in WA State

In this session, the WA State Legislature is considering a bill that would begin developing SEL standards for K–12 students across the state. The bill, which has broad bipartisan sponsorship and support, would define evidence-based SEL standards in broad terms and establish a work group to define the benchmarks and competencies K–12 students should achieve across all SEL competencies. In February, Committee for Children lobbyist Melanie Smith testified about the bill before the Senate Early Learning & K–12 Committee, which was covered by TVW’s Capitol Record. The Committee Chair, Senator Steve Litzow (R-Mercer Island) is the bill’s prime sponsor in the Senate.


female student at her desk with books and an apple
Our Stance on Corporal Punishment
There’s a nationwide conversation happening about how we discipline our kids. Recent headlines about the child abuse charges lodged against Minnesota Vikings player Adrian Peterson, for example, have sparked considerable debate about when discipline practices such as corporal punishment cross the line into child abuse and to what extent lawmakers should be able to decide how families discipline their children. We at Committee for Children recognize there are many perspectives on this issue, and we contend that corporal punishment has no place in our schools. We know from the research that when children feel safe and supported, they are ready to learn. This happens in a safe and supportive learning environment, one in which all children feel welcome and respected, engaged and connected, and challenged and valued. This does not and cannot happen in a learning environment in which the threat of physical harm is used to ensure compliance with the rules. So we applaud educators across the country who are using positive, supportive discipline practices such as those outlined in the U.S. Department of Education’s Guiding Principles resource guide, including the recommendation to “[p]romote social and emotional learning to complement academic skills and encourage positive behavior,” (p. 7). Our vision at Committee for Children is “safe children thriving in a peaceful world,” and we believe realizing this vision requires that all children feel safe and supported at school.
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CFC and Casel Host Briefing for Congress
Committee for Children and CASEL Host Briefing for Congress
Educators are finding that the best way to impart social-emotional skills to students is by teaching evidence-based programs in school. To that end, nonprofits Committee for Children of Seattle and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) of Chicago hosted a congressional briefing that focused on effective social-emotional learning programs in all stages of the educational system, from preschool through college. The briefing, titled “Social and Emotional Learning: Essential Skills for Success in School and Life,” took place on Capitol Hill today.

In a complex and increasingly challenging world, children need every competitive advantage they can get. In addition to academic skills such as reading and math, students must also develop social and emotional competencies like self-control, problem-solving, and the ability to work cooperatively with others. According to educators and researchers who presented evidence to support these findings in a congressional briefing today, these skills will help students succeed not only in school but in future roles as citizens, employees, managers, parents, volunteers, and entrepreneurs.

The speakers were Joan Cole Duffell, Executive Director of Committee for Children; Maurice Elias, Ph.D., Director of Rutgers Social-Emotional and Character Development Lab; Janice Deguchi, Executive Director of Denise Louie Education Center; and Keeth Matheny, Teacher at Austin High School. Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) gave the opening remarks.

Moderating the briefing was Tim Shriver, Ph.D., Chairman of Special Olympics and Board Chair of CASEL, who said, “I have long believed that social-emotional learning is an essential part of the educational process. Moderating today’s panel was an honor, and our hope is that this effort results in greater support for SEL instruction in schools throughout the U.S.”

Quotes from the briefing have been posted via live Twitter feed at #SELBriefing. And the video can be viewed in its entirety and in clips here.

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Susan Davis
Rep. Susan Davis Asks About the Importance of SEL
Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA) asked Education Secretary Arne Duncan about social-emotional learning during a House Education and Workforce Hearing on the 2015 education department budget.  View the video here.

Dr. Debra Boyer
Child Abuse and Trafficking: The Connection
At a recent event at the WA State Governor’s Mansion, Committee for Children and the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center brought together groups and organizations working on the issue of trafficking, particularly as it informs policymakers and elected officials. Cultural anthropologist and Committee for Children co-founder Dr. Debra Boyer made compelling remarks in drawing the critical connect between child sexual assault and trafficking.


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    Seattle, WA 98121

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