76th Annual  Meeting
The U.S. Conference of Mayors
76th Annual Meeting
June 20-24, 2008



WHEREAS, tens of thousands of youth are funneled down life paths that lead to arrest, conviction, incarceration and even death;and

WHEREAS, a Black boy born in 2001 has a 1 in 3 chance of going to prison in his lifetime; a Latino boy a 1 in 6 chance; and a White boy a 1 in 17 chance. A Black girl born in 2001 has a 1 in 17 chance of going to prison in her lifetime; a Latino girl a 1 in 45 chance; and a White girl a 1 in 111 chance; and

WHEREAS, poverty, exacerbated by race, is the largest driving force behind the Cradle to Prison Pipeline crisis, with almost 13 million, or 1 in 6 children in America living in poverty,almost half of whom (5.5 million) live in extreme poverty; and

WHEREAS, 1 in 4 Latino children and 1 in 3 Black children are poor; and

WHEREAS, the number of uninsured children from birth through age 18 rose to 9.4 million in 2006; and

WHEREAS, Latino children are three times and Black children are almost twice as likely to be uninsured as White children; and

WHEREAS, the importance of the early years is dramatically underscored in a U.S. Department of Education study which found that Black and Hispanic children were substantially behind when they entered kindergarten; and

WHEREAS, 86 percent of Black, 83 percent of Latino and 58 percent of White 4th graders cannot read at grade level; and

WHEREAS, 89 percent of Black, 85 percent of Latino and 59 percent of White 8th graders cannot do grade level math; and

WHEREAS, only 48,000 Black males earn a bachelor’s degree each year, but an estimated 1 in 3 Black men ages 20-29 is under correctional supervision or control; and

WHEREAS, one-size-fits-all zero tolerance school discipline policies are transforming schools into a major point of entry into the juvenile justice system as children are increasingly arrested on school grounds for subjectively and loosely defined behaviors; and

WHEREAS, a child is abused or neglected every 36 seconds but four in ten of the children who are confirmed abused or neglected get no help at all; and

WHEREAS, although they comprise only 16 percent of all children, Black children represent 32 percent of the foster ca repopulation; and

WHEREAS, a Congressional study found 15,000 children in juvenile detention facilities, some as young as 7 years old, solely because community mental health services were unavailable; and

WHEREAS, children who age out of foster care are less likely to graduate from high school or college, and experience more serious mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder, than children generally and they are less likely to receive adequate health and mental health care, and are more likely to experience homeless ness, and to be involved in the criminal justice system; and

WHEREAS, alcohol and other substance abuse treatment for youth and for parents and adults is in too short supply; and

WHEREAS, Black youth are about four times as likely as their White peers to be incarcerated; and

WHEREAS, most juvenile correctional facility programs focus on punishment rather then treatment and rehabilitation, often creating environments that further harden youth and makes it more difficult for them to productively reintegrate into their communities; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Conference of Mayors is committed to fighting for policies that put children on track to a productive adulthood and against the criminalization of children at younger and younger ages and urge the President of the United States and Congress to; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Conference of Mayors is committed to ending poverty through investments in high quality education for every child, livable wages for families, income supplements like the Earned Income and Child Tax Credits, job training and job creation, and work supports like child care and health coverage; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Conference of Mayors is committed to ensuring every child and pregnant woman has access to affordable, seamless, comprehensive health and mental health coverage and services; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Conference of Mayors is committed to making early childhood development programs accessible to every child by ensuring such programs are affordable, available and of high quality; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Conference of Mayors is committed to helping each child reach his/her full potential and succeed in work and life by ensuring our schools have adequate resources to provide high quality education to every child; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Conference of Mayors is committed to expanding prevention and specialized treatment services for children and their parents, connect children to caring permanent families, improve the quality of the child welfare work force and increase accountability for results for children; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Conference of Mayors is committed to reducing detention and incarceration by increasing investment in prevention and early intervention strategies, such as access to quality early childhood development and education services and to the health and mental health care children need for healthy development.