Ask the Presidential Candidates: What's Your Vision for Children?

Driven by UNICEF's global commitment to children's rights, we believe every child in America has the right to health, education, and protection - no matter what. Our next president has the power to make these rights a reality. For that reason, we are asking presidential candidates to share their vision for children in the United States.

As part of this effort, we wanted to learn how young people in the U.S. feel represented and included in national discussions and issues that affect their lives.

Through a nationally representative survey sample of 1,011 children, ages 8-17, conducted online by The Harris Poll, here were some key findings:

  • Most children (70%) want to be included in the political process but only one third of them currently feel included, with boys more likely to feel included than girls.
  • Roughly four out of five children (81%) say kids could help make America better if politicians worked more closely with children and young people.
  • Only about two in five children (43%) think that presidential candidates listen to what people their age have to say on issues of importance to them.
  • Only one third of children (33%) think the media takes kids’ thoughts and opinions into consideration and thinks about issues that affect kids when writing/reporting stories.

When asked “what are you worried about in your life?” kids said “gun violence or other types of violence against children” (46%) followed by “mistreatment/bullying” (45%) and “things that can hurt the environment” (36%) along with “not having enough money” (36%).

Kids also identified the issues they thought should be top priorities for the next President of the United States. At the top was “keeping children safe from guns and other ways people might try to hurt children” (60%), “not tolerating bullying” (57%), and “making sure kids are able to get the care they need when they are sick” (56%).

Click here for a full summary of our poll!

Press Release

Take Action

There are two ways you can make your voice heard. Join us in asking each presidential candidate to share their vision for children in the United States by entering your contact information in the box below.

Another vital way to use your voice is to take part in the next election and vote! Visit our Civic Action Center to check your voter’s registration status, register to vote, and to find your polling location. 


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National Youth Council Letter to the Candidates 

On July 29, UNICEF USA’s National Youth Council sent a letter to the presidential candidates asking them to share their vision for children in the United States, involve children and young people in the policymaking process, and if elected, to create a White House Office on Children. 

We believe that when policymakers put children first, and listen to their voices, they make better decisions for our communities and our country. We want our next President to apply these basic principles to all children, without discrimination:

  • Every child has a right to a childhood
  • All children should have the opportunity to develop their fullest potential
  • Children must be protected from exploitation, abuse, violence, and neglect
  • Decision-makers must think about how their decisions will affect children and prioritize children’s best interests in all decisions and actions
  • Children have the right to express their views, feelings, and wishes in matters affecting them, and to have their views considered and taken seriously.