Chris Dodd

Senator Chris Dodd

The Children’s Senator
Defender of our most vulnerable members of society since his first Senate term in 1981

1983: Senator Dodd teamed up with then-Republican Senator Arlen Specter to form the Children’s Caucus, Congress’s only bipartisan, bicameral caucus devoted exclusively to issues that affect our nation’s young people.

1990: Senator Dodd authored legislation creating the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and was signed into law. CCDBG, the first law of its kind enacted since World War II, has provided billions of dollars in aid by providing safe, reliable, child care options in communities.

1993: The Family and Medical Leave Act, authored by Senator Dodd, is signed into law by President Clinton after 7 years of hard work, and overcoming two vetoes by President George H. W. Bush. FMLA has allowed tens of millions of Americans to take up to twelve weeks of job-protected leave if they fall ill, or if they need to care for a sick relative or a new child.

1997: Senator Dodd joined with Senator Kennedy in authoring the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a federal-state partnership that provides health insurance coverage to uninsured children who are not eligible for Medicaid.

2006: Senator Dodd joined with Republican Senator Lamar Alexander in passing legislation that expands federal research into premature births and provides new educational and support services to pregnant women in order to reduce their incidence.

2008: Senator Dodd joined with Republican Senator Orrin Hatch to author legislation that provides more effective education about the importance of newborn screening to parents and health care providers and helps states upgrade their own newborn screening initiatives.

2009: After 12 years, Senator Dodd helped lead the fight to pass legislation reauthorizing CHIP, after a previous reauthorization bill was vetoed by President Bush in 2008.

2010: Senator Dodd who retires led the effort to reauthorize the Child Abuse and Prevention Treatment Act (CAPTA) for the last two years and was determined to see the legislation completed before his retirement.

Early Childhood Education and Afterschool Programs
In addition, Senator Dodd has worked throughout his tenure in the Senate in support of the Head Start program, which has helped nearly 20 million American youngsters since it began in 1965. Senator Dodd was also instrumental in creation of the 21st Century Learning Centers program, which offers children afterschool opportunities for additional instruction in math, science, and reading.


  • Senator Dodd was awarded the “Lifetime Leadership Award for Quality Child Care” by the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies in 2001.
  • Senator Dodd was named “Senator of the Decade” in 1991 by the National Head Start Association for his years of work in support of the Head Start program.