There are 13 million children living in poverty in the United States. Despite their efforts to thrive, they are faced with barriers at every stage of their development. These barriers often include a lack of access to vital resources, like a quality early childhood education, proper nutrition and basic healthcare.
For children in poverty, these obstacles are often compounded by disinvestment in lower-income communities. This sets a foundation for negative outcomes throughout the kids’ lives, leading to fewer opportunities and creating a “snowball effect” that gives children living in poverty an entirely different trajectory from that of their peers.
Child development research shows that kids benefit from resources provided at an early age — and that those resources create a long-term positive impact on the child’s life, regardless of their family’s socioeconomic status. For example, access to affordable, high-quality early childhood and preschool programs prepare children for school. They also help parents maintain stable employment and provide for their children.
Despite known solutions to reducing child poverty in the United States, there is a lack of political will to take action. That’s why we formed the U.S. Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in May 2016. We recognized that while there are some dedicated lawmakers, media outlets and advocates fighting for children, there is no long-term national strategy or even a national dialogue to address child poverty.
CPAG is working to hold lawmakers accountable for reducing child poverty, and we’re making investments to ensure that every child lives in a household with enough resources to meet their basic needs and support their healthy development. This past April, we released “Our Kids, Our Future,” a compendium of more than 20 policy solutions to significantly reduce child poverty in the United States and support a better quality of life for all children.
We all benefit from strategies that lift children out of poverty because these strategies are tied to economic gains that result in a strong, educated and prosperous society.
SOURCE: Members of U.S. Child Poverty Action Group, [email protected]