Almost Half of Young Children in the United States Live in Poverty or Near Poverty, With Infants and Toddlers at Greatest Risk
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) are introducing The Child Poverty Reduction Act of 2020, which would set a national goal of reducing child poverty by half in 10 years and require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Census Bureau to report annually on child poverty. In 2018, nearly 1 in 6 children, or 11.9 million children, were living in poverty.
“There are far too many children living in poverty both in Wisconsin and across our country. We must act now,” said Senator Baldwin. “I’m leading this legislation with Senators Casey and Brown to take action and meet the challenge of better understanding and ending child poverty, so we can build healthier, stronger families and communities.”
“Every child in America should have the opportunity to be economically secure,” said Senator Casey. “More than 15 perfect of children in Pennsylvania grow up in poverty. This is unacceptable. The Child Poverty Reduction Act makes a commitment to cut child poverty in half over the next decade. Economic stability and security for children and their families are the best predictors of a child’s wellbeing. We must ensure every child has the opportunity to grow and flourish and every child in America should have the freedom to reach her or his full potential.”
“No child in America should have to grow up in poverty, period,” said Senator Brown. “Whether they’re raised in families that are working harder than ever with less and less to show for it, or in overwhelmed and under-funded foster care programs, far too many children are brought up with the odds stacked against them. And systemic racism often reinforces cycles of poverty for Black and Brown children. This legislation is an important step toward ensuring that federal policies and programs actually work to reduce child poverty and promote the health, safety, and economic security for all children.”
“Senator Baldwin is that rare legislator who really listens, and then proposes important legislation to meet our needs. This bill will help fight the child poverty that is a root cause of so many problems in our schools and beyond. We strongly support it,” said Kim Kohlhaas, President of the American Federation of Teachers – Wisconsin.
“At Children’s Wisconsin, our vision is for Wisconsin kids to be the healthiest in the nation. We know that disparities and social factors have a profound impact on one’s health and that children who live in poverty have a higher risk of adverse short-and long-term outcomes related to their health and well-being. We applaud Senator Baldwin and her colleagues for introducing the ‘Child Poverty Reduction Act’ to focus our nation on this critical issue and hope that it will accelerate efforts to work together as a community to address the structural inequities that contribute to generational poverty that is threatening the future of our children,” said Peggy Troy, President and CEO of Children’s Wisconsin.
“Anu Family Services applauds Senator Baldwin and Senator Casey for their persistent efforts to eliminate childhood poverty. The Childhood Poverty Reduction Act is a critical next step to eliminating childhood poverty and to improve the outcomes for children in the United States,” said Mechele Shipman, CEO of Anu Family Services.
“We applaud Senator Baldwin’s commitment to ending poverty,” said Ken Taylor, Executive Director of Kids Forward Wisconsin. “Far too many children are living in poverty, making it much harder for them to succeed in life. The Child Poverty Reduction Act is a bold plan that will help more families escape poverty and have the resources they need for their children to thrive, which is a key step towards substantially reducing the systemic racism that is holding back our country.”
Child poverty not only affects individual children, but also has broader societal effects, including higher spending on health care, increased rates of crime, reduced rates of education attainment and higher spending on remedial education.
Read more about The Child Poverty Reduction Act of 2020 here.