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Another Milestone: 20 Years of NCCP
2008 Annual Report

Publication Date: January 2009

From The Director

This year, as we mark NCCP’s 20th anniversary, we have so many things of which to be proud, yet there is so much more that we know needs to be done.

Our work is driven by a vision of an America where families are strong, nurturing, and economically secure; where healthy child development is the norm across the country, and where children’s opportunities don’t depend on the state in which they live.

In the two decades since we began our mission to shine a spotlight on the youngest children in poverty, we have expanded that mission to include all children, their families, and the socio-economic environment around them.

Today we promote family-oriented policy solutions and the smarter use of scarce public resources at the state, local, and national levels. As a national policy center situated in an academic institution, NCCP has developed a strong reputation for using research to inform policy and practice, and to promote, wherever possible, the use of research-informed, cost-effective approaches to improve outcomes and reduce disparities in access to quality services and informal supports for the 39 percent of American children and their families with household incomes at or below 200 percent of the poverty level.

The challenges to implementing this vision are enormous. During the last eight years, low-income children and their families have lost ground. Although the percentage of low-income and poor children declined steadily for most of the 1990s, it began to increase again in 2000. In 2007, this percentage was at its highest since 1998. Given the rapidly changing context of today’s realities, we know NCCP must continue to deepen our foothold as a national organization focused at the state level, while we develop new capacities to bring our knowledge to bear on the design and implementation of national policies.

In our quest to improve outcomes for low-income children and families, NCCP is proud to be a part of the Mailman School of Public Health as we work to embed a public health vision, focusing on prevention and early intervention into America’s child and family health and mental health polices and to serve as an important placement and research resource to the School’s students and faculty.

We couple this role with our commitment to strengthen the public health framework to include more attention to reducing disparities– based on race and ethnicity, language access, and income – and to addressing the core challenge at the heart of so many public health challenges, both domestically and internationally – poverty. In the coming years we will expand our work on national policies as we strive to solidify our role as a “go-to” organization for resources on child and family poverty, and join the anti-poverty conversation with the public health conversations to advance the wellbeing of children and families.

I am very proud of NCCP’s accomplishments during the past year. We have had some remarkable successes in 2008. This report focuses on those as well as takes a look back at our first two decades – and if the past is predictive of the future, we anticipate that 2009 and beyond will bring us closer to our vision of rendering poverty in America a distant memory.

With sadness for his loss, and gratitude for his leadership, we dedicate this annual report to the memory of Dr. Allan Rosenfield, dean of the Mailman School for 22 years, and a tireless champion for low-income children and families, for NCCP and its mission, and for social justice across the entire world.

Jane Knitzer
Director, NCCP