Seven Things You Should Know About Childhood Poverty

This article was written by Caroline Ratcliffe and Nicole Levins. It was originally published in October of 2016 on Urban Wire.

For millions of poor children, the United States is not the land of opportunity. Childhood poverty can have lifelong consequences, affecting future health, education, earnings, and more.

These consequences can even stretch into future generations. Many poor children grow up to become poor adults, and as they have children of their own, the cycle of poverty continues.

What else should you know about childhood poverty?

Children in Poverty

Racial breakdown of children in poverty in the counties of Maricopa and Pima, AZ.

Racial breakdown of children in poverty in the counties of Maricopa and Pima, AZ.

  1. Reaching poor children as early as the day they’re born. Since most children in the United States are born in hospitals, that’s a great place to start. Social workers could connect newborns and new moms to programs that can help them avoid the poverty trap, such as public health insurance, food assistance, and even home-visiting opportunities and parenting classes.
  2. Ramping up educational opportunities for children and their parents. Getting children in Head Start and other school readiness programs prepares them for primary school. Additional funding for Early Head Start would expand the reach of educational and other supports for younger children and their families. And workforce programs that help parents gain skills, get jobs, and advance in the workplace can help the whole family. headstart and poverty
  3. Helping kids stay in the same schools when struggling families move. Poverty and housing instability are deeply connected, and a family move can disrupt a child’s education. Flexible policies that let kids stay in the same school when they move across school boundary lines could improve academic performance.
  4. Enacting place-conscious strategies. We need policies that address neighborhood conditions and help poor families move out of disadvantaged neighborhoods to places with better schools and more opportunities.

To read the original article, click here.

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