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Why aren’t kids a policy priority? The cultural mindsets and attitudes that keep kids off the public agenda

Why aren’t kids a policy priority? The cultural mindsets and attitudes that keep kids off the public agenda

In partnership with Leading for Kids and with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Children’s Hospital Association, the FrameWorks Institute is engaging in research to understand the cultural barriers to prioritizing children in policymaking and to develop a new narrative that can help put children’s wellbeing more squarely on the public and policymaking agendas. In this strategic brief, we report findings from the first phase of this project, which centers on understanding these cultural barriers and identifying possible directions for the development of a new narrative around kids.

The findings in this first report raise a number of questions that we will look to answer in the final part of the project. Should advocates enter the conversation by talking about kids in the context of their families and caregivers, or focus on the kids themselves? How can advocates counter racialized perceptions of deservingness—the idea that some families and kids don’t deserve our collective support? How can advocates stretch people’s understanding of “kids issues” to include the full range of policies that affect them—and not just those that center on home and school? How should the relationship between government and kids be characterized to get around the idea that government should stay out of families’ lives?

Why aren’t kids a policy priority? The cultural mindsets and attitudes that keep kids off the public agenda