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The Children's Leadership Council launched its "Invest in Children, Strengthen America" campaign in Helena last month. Montana's launch event correlated with a national rollout in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 18, 2008.

The CLC is a coalition of child advocates representing 35 leading national policy and advocacy organizations, with members in every state in the nation. As the job market falters and unemployment rises, more children and families face the risk of impoverishment, increased stress in coping with job loss and tighter budgets, increased food insecurity, the loss of health insurance, and instability in housing and child care.

The "Invest in Children, Strengthen America" campaign focuses on five specific areas of investment that are proven effective in improving the health, education and well-being of children across America:

•The prevention, early diagnosis and treatment for at-risk children.

•Services for older children to ensure that they are safe and on a path to success.

•Physical, dental and mental health care, prevention and treatment so that all children are healthy.

•Programs that provide early development and learning.

•Support for families to help make them economically stronger and more self-sufficient.

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