Pelosi: National Summit Will Renew our Commitment to America's Children

May 15, 2007
Press Release

Washington, D.C. - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced today the panelists for the National Summit on America's Children that will take place on Tuesday, May 22nd on Capitol Hill.  The day-long session, which will convene national experts and academics on recent scientific findings and how they relate to early childhood development, is a first step in making certain that federal policies on children reflect the latest scientific developments.

The summit will be chaired by Chairman George Miller of California of the House Committee on Education and Labor and co-chair of the House Steering and Policy Committee; Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, co-chair of the House Steering and Policy Committee; and Congressman Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania, a longtime advocate for children.  Dozens of other Members of the House of Representatives are expected to attend.

The legislators will convene experts in a wide array of areas, including early childhood learning, health care, and child care. Practitioners of innovative public and private initiatives will attend to offer research-based testimony to assist the lawmakers in the development of federal policy.  James Heckman, an economics professor and director of the Center for Social Program Evaluation at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, will deliver the keynote address.

'This is a crucial starting point as we address national policies facing family and children,' said Pelosi.  'At this summit, we will hear from experts on how we can match our federal policies to the latest research so that families are given what they need to take advantage of scientific advances.  This will require a commitment to explore new approaches and to examine existing policies.  Today's families and future generations are counting on us to make this critical commitment.'

Chairman Miller said: 'Research over the past decade in the fields of neuroscience and child development shows that during the first five years of life, children's brains develop dramatically, and the path of this development has a lasting impact on children's future health, learning, and success.  It is critical that we carefully re-examine our public policies to determine if they are adequately helping young children to develop into productive members of our society.'

Said Congresswoman DeLauro: 'Recent scientific studies on young children and their families have demonstrated that there is a huge chasm between what we know is good for America's children and families versus what we as a country do about it.  The Children's Summit will focus Congress's attention on this chasm, the problems that ensue if we do nothing, and the opportunities for Congress to use science to dramatically improve the public policy opportunities for children in this country.'

Congressman Fattah said: 'I share the Speaker's concern that our policy be evidence based.  I look forward to collaborating with Chairman Miller and Congresswoman DeLauro, two tireless champions of our youngest citizens, to make certain that our policy supports the most relevant research on how best our children grow and learn.'

In addition to Members of Congress, representatives of child and family policy, advocacy and service provider organizations will also attend.

The summit will be webcast live, available through, where questions for the panelists can be submitted.

Due to space constraints, members of the press seeking to cover this event should RSVP to Crystal Chiu or on (202) 226-7616.


Schedule of Events

(as of May 15, 2007)


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

National Summit on America's Children - by invitation only

All events will be held in Room 345 of the Cannon House Office Building.


Opening Remarks

9:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House

The Honorable George Miller

The Honorable Rosa DeLauro

The Honorable Chaka Fattah


Panel I: The Science of Early Childhood Development

9:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.

Pat Levitt, Ph.D.

Professor of Pharmacology

Annette Schaffer Eskind Chair and Director, Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Dolores G. Norton, Ph.D.

Samuel Deutsch Professor, School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago

Charles A. Nelson, Ph.D.

Richard David Scott Chair in Pediatric Developmental Medicine Research,

Children's Hospital Boston

Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Megan Gunnar, Ph.D.

Regents Professor and Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota

Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D.

Julius B. Richmond FAMRI Professor of Child Health and Development

Director, Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University


Panel II: Early Learning

11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Oscar A. Barbarin, Ph.D.

L. Richardson and Emily Preyer Bicentennial Distinguished Professor for Strengthening Families, School of Social Work

Senior Investigator, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

James E. Rohr

Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, PNC Financial Services Group

Karen W. Ponder

President and Chief Executive Officer, North Carolina Partnership for Children

Donna Davidson

President and Chief Executive Officer, Easter Seals of North Georgia

Alberto Melis

Chief of Police, Waco Police Department, Texas



12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Keynote Address: James Heckman, Ph.D.

Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics

Director, Economics Research Center at the Department of Economics

Director, Center for Social Program Evaluation at the Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago


Panel III: Health and Mental Health

1:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Jane Knitzer, Ed.D

Director, National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

Paul H. Wise, M.D., MPH

Richard E. Behrman Professor of Child Health and Society

Center for Health Policy, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research, Stanford School of Medicine, Stanford University

Glenn Flores, M.D., FAAP

Professor, Pediatrics and Population Health, Medical College of Wisconsin

Director, Center for the Advancement of Underserved Children, Medical College of Wisconsin and Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

Carol Wilson Spigner, MSW, DSW

Co-Director, Field Center for Children's Policy Practice and Research

Kenneth. L.M. Pray Professor, School of Policy and Practice, University of Pennsylvania

Col. Elisabeth M. Stafford, M.D.

Fellowship Director, Adolescent Medicine, San Antonio Military Pediatric Center


Panel IV: Income and Family Support

3:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.

J. Lawrence Aber, Ph.D.

Director, Institute for Human Development and Contextual Change

Professor of Applied Psychology and Public Policy, Steinhardt School of Education, New York University

Deborah A. Frank, M.D.

Director, Grow Clinic for Children

Professor of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine

Jody Heymann, Ph.D., M.D.

Founding Director, McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy

Founding Director, Project on Global Working Families at Harvard University

Professor, Faculties of Medicine and Arts, McGill University

Gordon Berlin

President, MDRC

Rucker C. Johnson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley


Closing Remarks

4:15 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.