Is Your Home Safe for the Holidays? – Dec 1, 2023



The classic holiday song croons that “There’s no place like home for the holidays.” As families gather close during holiday visits, we think of our homes as loving and safe havens from the chill and dark of winter. For too many families, though, home can be a very cold and unsafe place.


As the temperature dips outside, too many families struggle to stay warm in their own homes because they can’t afford the heating bills. During the pandemic, a sizeable increase in federal heating assistance (LIHEAP) helped struggling families, but the Congressional continuing budget resolution has dropped the figure back to pre-COVID times, leaving more families “out in the cold.” Fortunately, the Pennsylvania LIHEAP program is taking applications starting today so some low-income families can get some help to keep the home fires burning, but Congress shouldn’t be a grinch when it comes to keeping families warm in their homes.


The idyllic vision of a holiday feast is just a mirage for too many young families who struggle to put food on the table. Nutrition assistance through WIC would prevent a lot of young children from going hungry but it seems easier to shimmy down a chimney than get help through WIC – only half of eligible mothers in PA and across the county are enrolled. If lawmakers don’t want coal in their stockings, they need to enact commonsense reforms to make WIC benefits easier to access and also reverse the federal cuts from the last five years so more kids have something good to eat.


For families that can afford to put food on the table, they have to be on the lookout for hazards. In just the last month, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has issued recalls on children’s applesaucecups, and even crafts because they contain lead. No level of lead in a child’s bloodstream is safe and leads to lifelong conditions that contribute to learning and behavioral problems.


A piece of good holiday news is EPA announcing its plan to replace lead water service lines within 10 years, the largest national investment into eradicating lead hazards in the water supply. More than 9 million of these toxic pipes still bring drinking water into homes, child care facilities and other U.S. buildings.


In the Commonwealth, because most of our houses are old and have lead paint on the walls, the greatest lead poisoning threat to young children is “home sweet home.” House Democrats have released $10 million in 2002 to assist low-income homeowners and landlords in testing for and removing hazards, and, for the first time in Pennsylvania, $2.37 million was appropriated in the state budget to remove lead hazards and develop the workforce to tackle the crisis. It’s a good start but with nearly 9,000 Pennsylvania children poisoned by lead every year, we have more to do.


In December, parents and children of nearly every faith observe religious holidays that celebrate family. Whether Pennsylvania’s children are lighting the menorah or the kinara, honoring Buddha, or trimming the Christmas tree, they should all be cozy and protected in their homes.


Together we can give children the amazingly powerful gift of advocacy and give them the greatest holiday gift of all – our commitment to fighting every day in 2024 for the basic needs that children and teens need to be healthy, happy, and safe.

Out-of-school-time programs provide kids safe places to learn and play. 

Philadelphia can improve its OST programs by creating intermediaries who coordinate providers, government, and the school district. Join us to discuss this important topic on Tuesday, December 5th at 9 AM. 在这里注册.

“We have not seen hide nor hair of this man since June, yet you have paid him $35,000 of Pennridge taxpayer money. This is the biggest grift. Congratulations to him for managing to fool five of you…”

Pennridge School Board member Joan Cullen on the decision to terminate the its consulting contract with Vermilion Education. 

You’re invited to celebrate Children First’s wins for kids this year and help make the holidays a little brighter for those in need.
Be our guest next Wednesday, December 6th from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at the Uptown Beer Garden, 1500 JFK Boulevard, Philadelphia.
Please bring a new unwrapped toy, or make a donation to our toy drive and leave the shopping to us!
Pennsbury School District will pilot free
period products
in high school bathrooms.
One in four American students struggle to

afford period products and having them
easily available – as opposed to having to
ask for them in the nurse’s office – allows
girls to worry less and more focus on