03.11.21

Baldwin, Casey, Brown Introduce Bill That Would Build on American Rescue Plan and Help Reduce Child Poverty

Almost 1 in 7 Children in America Live in Poverty, With Infants and Toddlers at Greatest Risk

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following Congressional passage of the American Rescue Plan, which includes policies to cut child poverty, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Bob Casey (D-PA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced the Child Poverty Reduction Act of 2021, which would establish a national goal of reducing child poverty by half in 10 years and require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Census Bureau to annually track the progress toward that goal. In 2018, 11.9 million children were living in poverty. 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. U.S. Representative Danny K. Davis (D-IL-7) is introducing companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“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 a better future for all children in America.”

“It is completely unacceptable that children are living in poverty in the richest country in the world,” said Senator Casey. “Children living in poverty are at greater risk of behavioral and emotional problems and poverty has also been shown to adversely affect academic and health outcomes of children, especially during early childhood. With more than 15 percent of children in Pennsylvania living in poverty, the Child Poverty Reduction Act is a critical tool to help improve economic stability and security for children and their families. We must ensure every child in Pennsylvania, and across the country, has the opportunity to flourish and the freedom to reach their full potential.” 

“Whether they’re raised in families that are working harder than ever with less and less to show for it, or in overwhelmed and underfunded foster care programs, far too many children are brought up with the odds stacked against them. For Black and brown children, systemic racism often reinforces cycles of poverty. Building on the historic expansion of the Child Tax Credit in the American Rescue Plan, which is estimated to cut child poverty in half, 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,” said Senator Brown.

“We live in the wealthiest nation in the world,” said Representative Davis. “It is inexcusable and unacceptable for so many of our children to be condemned to grow up in America under these conditions. Including this bill in our coronavirus response will prioritize alleviating child poverty and ensure our success. Without continuous monitoring of child poverty during this crisis and recovery, we risk irreparable harm to our youngest children, especially children of color.”

“I want to thank Senator Baldwin. She listens and then proposes solutions to make lives better. Now more than ever, we need to do everything we can to fight child poverty, which is a root cause of so many problems in our schools and beyond. We strongly the Child Poverty Reduction Act and commend Senator Baldwin for fighting for children,” said Kim Kohlhaas, President of the American Federation of Teachers of 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 accelerate efforts to address structural inequities to ensure that all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential,” said Peggy Troy, President and CEO of Children’s Wisconsin.

“Anu Family Services applauds Senator Baldwin's tenacious efforts to eliminate childhood poverty and advancing the well-being of children who live in poverty.  The Childhood Poverty Reduction Act is essential to eliminating childhood poverty and improving children's outcomes in the United States,” said Mechele Shipman, CEO of Anu Family Services in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

“We applaud Senator Baldwin’s enduring commitment to ending poverty,” said Michele Mackey, CEO of Kids Forward Wisconsin. “So many children face the burden of living in poverty, making it harder for them to succeed and their families to thrive. Systemic racism compounds the problem, producing severe disparities in the proportion on Black, Brown and Indigenous children experiencing poverty. The Child Poverty Reduction Act sets an ambitious yet vital goal of reducing child poverty. We cannot continue to let children pay the price for the systemic racism and other structural barriers that underlie poverty in our country.”

Read more about The Child Poverty Reduction Act of 2021 here.