Children in Poverty
15 million children are affected by poverty. 15 million children will not know what it’s like to go to Wegmans every week with their mom and put their favorite snacks in the cart. Thats 21% of all the children in the United States of America. According to OCPP.org, the Gross Annual Income for a family of 4 is $25,100. If you split that 4 ways it is $6,275 for each member, not including the price of housing, clothing and food supply. It is nearly impossible to live a healthy and safe life. 3 million United States children live in families surviving on $2 a day per person (ChildrensDefense.com)
Research shows children growing up poor are less likely to grow up healthy and succeed in school and more likely to be poor as adults. (Edelman, M) Edelman is the Founder and President for the Children’s Defense Fund ‘Leave No Child Behind’ Organization. 26% of poor parents with young children have less than a highschool degree compared to 20% of low income families. (NCCP.org) The Urban Institute states that the United States’ government spends only 10% of the entire national budget on children under the age of 18. The kids that are experiencing poverty with scarce food, have a higher chance of mental and physical health problems, lower schools scores and behavioral programs. (Feeding America) *Children international
During my IMPACT hours and the Poverty Simulation I had the chance to experience a school that is ranked 2,098th out of the 2,395 schools in New York State. This school is very diverse with well-educated teachers. 92% of the students in this school have free or discounted meals while at school. (SchoolDigger.com) At this school some kids are homeless, some only eat breakfast at the school and some don’t have the correct clothing for winter. A good majority of the students in the classroom eat the provided free breakfast in the morning when they arrive.
The Children’s Defense Fund says the solution to ending children in poverty is with these 3 steps: Ensure Children’s Basic Needs are Met, Increase Employment and Make Work Pay and Level the Playing Field for Poor Children. Ensuring their basic needs comes with SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. This program provides families with the correct nutrition and services to keep themselves healthy and hunger-free. SNAP, otherwise known as Food Stamps are given out every month on a EBT. An EBT is an electronic benefits transfer card, in which you use like a debit card. With SNAP comes some restrictions, you cannot purchase paper products, alcohol, pet food and vitamins and medicine. Increasing employment is a key player in making children’s lives better. If you’re a family of 4 and you have working parents, they should increase wages and salaries so the children can get affordable child care and decent education. There should also be an option to help young adults and teenagers get jobs that don’t require schooling if they had to stop due to family reasons. Leveling the playing field for children in poverty is a chance to lower the numbers of long term poverty. If all children under the age of 14 get to go to quality schooling, the numbers would drop. Part of the problem is that children who grow up in poverty aren’t pushed in school compared to a child in the middle class. Starting at a young age, children can begin to develop behavioral problems that can follow them into their adult lives. If we were able to put young kids into school starting at pre-kindergarten, they would eventually like going to school and they would want to learn more.