Effective Language for Communicating Children’s Issues

Posted May 1, 1999
By Coalition for America’s Children
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AECF Effective Languagefor Communicating Childrens Issues 1999


This report addresses the media’s depictions of children’s issues and outlines the effective use of strategic communications to change the way these issues are framed in order to support policy and outreach work. Policy issues highlighted in the report were identified by KIDS COUNT grantees in a September 1998 survey. 

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations

Key Takeaway

Effective communication can help shape public understanding of issues impacting children

A survey of media headlines indicated that stories about children were more compelling than any other news topic, and that nearly all the news about children was negative or sensational. In order to change this paradigm, advocates for children should:

  • Use data to illustrate “programs that work.”
  • Tell the stories behind the numbers.
  • Include businesses in the conversation.
  • Help the public understand how they can be part of the solution.
  • Show how children’s issues are interrelated.
  • Build relationships with local media.