The Children’s Defense Fund-Southern Regional Office seeks to educate the public to threats facing children in America, and to solutions that improve the odds for children to reach their potential. The Black Community Crusade for Children (BCCC), Cradle to Prison Pipeline®, Protect Children Not Guns and Be Careful What You Cut campaigns were designed to mobilize child advocates by providing key information and tools to create meaningful change in their communities, online and at the national level. Learn more about CDF-SRO's campaigns and how you can make a difference.

Initiative 42

CDF-SRO works diligently to ensure the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) is fully funded. MAEP is the formula by which the state of Mississippi ensures every public school in every district has adequate resources for educating students kindergarten through 12th grade regardless of their neighborhood or socioeconomic status. CDF-SRO also works with legislative leaders to secure additional funding for the state’s “at risk” students, defined as those who receive a reduced price or free lunch.

Initiative 42 is a measure supported by CDF-SRO that petitions the state legislature to fund public education in Mississippi. Through CDF-SRO’s support, Initiative 42 was added to the November 2015 ballot in an effort to motivate legislators to fund public education and, thus, lift children from poverty.

Learn more about Initiative 42 and let your elected officials know that Mississippi's public school system needs adequate funding to ensure our children receive a quality education.


SPARK is a national initiative of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation that helps communities allocate resources to better prepare children for entering elementary school. CDF-SRO is the grantee for SPARK Mississippi, a $5 million program that targets more than 1,000 Mississippi children ages 3 to 8 who are vulnerable to poor academic achievement. To help these children master skills and receive the cognitive, physical, familial and community support necessary for success, SPARK Mississippi brings together parents, school officials, child care and early education providers, child advocacy groups, Head Start providers and state and local government agencies.

Learn more about SPARK and how you can get involved.

Black Community Crusade for Children

The Black Community Crusade for Children® (BCCC®) was organized to confront a deepening crisis facing far too many of our children. Poor children and children of color are particularly at risk for poor outcomes in all developmental and societal areas, and we are calling on all Americans to take action. A toxic cocktail of poverty, illiteracy, racial disparity, violence and massive incarceration is sentencing millions of children of color to dead end, powerless, and hopeless lives and threatens to undermine the past half century of racial and social progress. The BCCC offers an intergenerational approach to inform the community about the potential harm to our children should we do nothing, and engage and encourage them to advocate for, address, and support our children’s issues with urgency and persistence. 

CDF-SRO's BCCC campaign has been most successful through its Southern Rural Black Women's Initiative for Social and Economic Justice (SRBWI). SRBWI combats the injustices of poverty for Black women and their children by equipping them with the skills to lead empowered lives. The program, which is more than 10 years old, operates in three states — Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi — and has impacted thousands of women through its network.

Cradle to Prison Pipeline®

CDF's vision is to dismantle the Cradle to Prison Pipeline®crisis that leaves a Black boy born in 2001 with a one in three chance of going to prison in his lifetime and a Latino boy born the same year with a one in six chance of the same fate. CDF seeks to replace this pipeline to detention and mass incarceration with a powerful pathway to college and successful adulthood. Opportunity gaps begin at birth. CDF works to level the playing field through early intervention and prevention and by increasing supports and services (e.g., quality early childhood development, education and affordable, comprehensive health and mental health coverage) to these children and young people. Our work helps keep children in school and learning by reforming school discipline policies and practices and promoting positive school climates.

CDF-SRO sponsors events to educate teens and help them steer clear of behavior that can lead them down the wrong paths, and the office has held statewide Cradle to Prison Pipeline convenings with community activists, parents, students, advocates and educators to discuss solutions to dismantle this vicious cycle that affects so many children in the southern region.

Learn how child advocates like you can help dismantle the Cradle to Prison Pipeline crisis that affects our children.

Protect Children Not Guns

One child or teen either dies or is injured by guns every 30 minutes. Gun violence saturates our children’s lives. More children and teens die from guns every three days than were murdered during the Newtown massacre. The number of children younger than 5 killed by guns in 2012 was higher than the number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty that same year. We can do better. We must do better.

Join us in our campaign to stand up, speak out, and organize with urgency and persistence until all legislators at the national, state and local levels protect children instead of guns. Every child’s life is sacred, and it is long past time that we pass common-sense gun safety regulations to give all children in America a safe start in life.

Learn more about CDF's Protect Children Not Guns campaign and how dedicated child advocates like you can speak up and speak out to ensure all children have a Safe Start in life.