Children’s Aid CEO Richard Buery Discusses Obama's State of the Union Address

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image001As the chief executive of one of New York's largest children's services organizations, I found a lot to applaud in President Obama’s State of the Union address before Congress. The domestic initiatives he announced, including doubling the child care tax credit, passing a job-creation bill, revitalizing community colleges, creating a college tuition tax credit and expansion of the Pell grant program can make a profound difference for the nation's children and families.

We share the President's central vision -- that children's success should not depend on where they live, but on their potential. Early in his speech, he described reading letters from children asking "Why do I have to move away from my home?" or "When will my parents find jobs?" As the President and Congress move forward on health reform, education reform, and job creation, we hope that they will continue to pay attention to the voices of those children. As we work to improve access to higher education and create jobs with living wages, we cannot forget the particular challenges faced by teens aging out of foster care or those being released from juvenile detention facilities. As we strive to reform public education, we must remember that the most successful educational program cannot serve a child who is too sick to attend school regularly, too hungry to focus when they get there, and too stressed because of an unstable home environment.

Reflecting on the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens Union v. FEC, the President accurately bemoaned the power of money in politics. Too often, our laws fail to take account of the needs of poor and vulnerable children who do not lobby, donate to elected officials, or vote. We hope that Congress heeds the President's call to do business differently. We must stand for the needs of vulnerable children who cannot stand for themselves. We at The Children's Aid Society are ready to work with this administration to fulfill our mission: to bridge the gap between what children have and what they need to thrive.

Richard R. Buery, Jr.
CEO and President
The Children’s Aid Society

Follow Richard Buery on Twitter: @RichardBueryCAS