WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) was today named a ‘Defender of Children’ by the organization First Focus, a bipartisan child advocacy group dedicated to making American children and their families a priority in the development of federal policy. As a part of its inaugural Campaign for Children, First Focus has identified Members of Congress as ‘Defenders of Children’ for their efforts to promote children’s wellbeing.

“This award is intended to give recognition to our nation's top public officials who take action to make children a national priority,” said Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus’s Campaign for Children.

Dent, a father of three, was recognized for supporting federal legislation and advocating policy that improves the health of children across the country.

“I am truly honored to be recognized by First Focus as a Defender of Children,” Dent explained. “I will continue to ensure the needs and concerns of American children are never given second billing in Congress. Congress can play an important role in improving the wellbeing our of nation’s children through the advancement of legislation that enhances their education, health and safety. ”

As a member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, Dent was instrumental in the creation of the Keystone state’s Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which later served as a model for the development of the comparable federal program. During consideration of the House healthcare bill (H.R. 3962) in the U.S. House of Representatives last year, Dent fought to eliminate harmful provisions that would jeopardize coverage and increase costs for children enrolled in Pennsylvania’s CHIP plan. In a November 2009 letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Dent argued, “A recent actuarial analysis demonstrates that CHIP benefits are superior for low-income families than the House health care legislation. Families who rely on Pennsylvania’s CHIP program will face higher costs when their children are forced into the plans offered through the exchange.”