S.E. Williams | Contributor
“A new Children’s Defense Fund study shows America could lift 5.5 million children out of poverty immediately by investing in nine modest policy improvements.”
- Children’s Defense Fund
Washington, D. C. – On April 30, a new study by the Children’s Defense Fund titled Ending Child Poverty Now, argues the nation can lift millions of children out of poverty and reduce child poverty by 57 percent almost immediately by making “modest investments” in policies that work.
The new report is actually the second edition of a groundbreaking report released in 2015 that detailed the devastating impacts of poverty on children and the nation.
The report outlines nine policy improvements that, according to the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), if enacted together, would benefit 95 percent of all poor children and in the process, lift five and a half million of them out of poverty.
The study also offers a way for the nation to pay the $52.3 billion needed to implement the policies by making modest tradeoffs—including changes to the Republican party’s $1.9 trillion tax reform package which primarily benefited the nation’s wealthiest individuals and corporations which passed in 2017.
Data lays bare a harsh reality–that child poverty in this nation has reached a crisis point. Today, nearly one in five children lives in poverty, nearly four in ten spend at least one year in poverty before their 18th birthday, and kids of color, particularly the youngest are among the poorest in the nation—this impacts more than two of every three minority.
Experts predict for every dollar invested in reducing child poverty, it will return at least seven dollars to the nation’s economy.
Statistics further indicate children who experience poverty at any point during childhood are more than three times as likely to be poor at age 30 as children who do not experience poverty.
“It is a moral disgrace and profound economic threat that nearly 1 in 5 children are poor in the wealthiest nation on earth,” said Marian Wright Edelman, Founder and President Emerita of the Children’s Defense Fund. “Permitting more than 12.8 million of our children to live in poverty when we have the means to prevent it is unjust and unacceptable.”
The CDF report offers strategies for improvements to nine existing policies that could be made immediately to increase employment, make work pay more for adults with children and meet more of these children’s basic needs. The policy recommendations are designed not only to lift children out of poverty—but to help keep them out of poverty.
The CDF contracted with the Urban Institute to analyze the impacts and costs of the recommended policy improvements and found that together, they would help children of different races and ages and in different types of families and parts of the country. The policy recommendations are as follows:
- Create transitional jobs for unemployed and underemployed individuals ages 16 to 64 in families with children.
- Increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15.00 by 2024.
- Increase the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or lower-income families with children.
- Make the Child Tax Credit (CTC) fully refundable with additional benefits for families with young children.
- Make child care subsidies available to all eligible families below 150 percent of poverty with no co-pays.
- Make the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) refundable with a higher reimbursement rate.
The report offered other important recommendations. It proposes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits that are based on the USDA’s Low-Cost Food Plan for families with children benefits, be increased by 31 percent.
CDR further suggested housing vouchers be made available to all households with children living below 150 percent of poverty and for whom fair market rent exceeds 50 percent of their income.
Finally, the report advised it should be a requirement for child support to be fully passed through to families who are receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF formerly AFDC) and further suggested such child support payments be totally disregarded for TANF benefits and partially disregarded for SNAP benefits.
The report expressed confidence the implementation of these recommendation would cut poverty by 65 percent for Black children, reducing the Black-White child poverty gap by 30 percent; 59 percent for Hispanic children; 62 percent for children ages 3-5; 59 percent for single-parent families with children; and 57 percent for children in both metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas
“Our report shows we can reduce child poverty right now and make a substantial down payment on ending it for good,” said MaryLee Allen, Director of Policy for the Children’s Defense Fund. “We already know what works to end child poverty. The question is not how to do it or whether we can afford it, but whether we as a nation have the will to invest in programs and policies that will help our children now.”
To review and/or download the full report visit. www.childrensdefense.org/policy/resources/overview/.
*Here is a link to the report where I got the graphics, photos and charts just in case I downloaded incorrectly https://www.childrensdefense.org/😊
Graphic 1 Crayola type graphic
Graphic 2 – Map include the following: (from Overview)
These figures reflect the number of children living below the official poverty line as calculated by the Official Poverty Measure (OPM) based only on cash income.
Photo 1 – image of a Young Girl (from Chapter 1)
Photo 2 – children holding signs (from Chapter 2)
Chart 1 – Effects of Poverty on selected groups (from Chapter 3)
Chart 2 – Relative Cost of Cutting (from Chapter 4)
Chart 3 – Include title – We know what works. We can and must do more. (from Chapter 2)
Chart 4 – Potential child poverty reduction in key states including CA (from Chapter 3)