Child Poverty Action Group calls for national poverty targets

Data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau illustrates the failure of our government to lead on child poverty, which remains higher in the United States than in nearly all similarly developed countries. 

The U.S. Census Bureau found that 16.2 percent of children (11.9 million) were living in poverty in 2018 and that children are 54.4 percent more likely to live in poverty than adults.

The figures represent a marginal 1.2 percent decrease from 2017, the result of anti-poverty measures that are effective but severely underfunded or have limited eligibility. Programs including the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the National School Lunch Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), federal housing assistance, and others have successfully lifted millions of children out of poverty, despite subsisting on meagre annual budgets. With some structural changes and proper funding, these programs could make a larger dent in the shameful rate of child poverty in America.

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Cara Baldari
Statement: CPAG Responds to OMB Proposal on New Poverty Calculation

This proposal seeks to change the rate of inflation used to calculate the poverty threshold for the Official Poverty Measure each year. The Official Poverty Measure is already unrealistically low and families living at the poverty line cannot meet their basic needs. A switch from the current measure of inflation to one that measures inflation at a lower level would mean that over time the poverty line, already inadequate, would become even less realistic and our official estimate of the number of children and families living in poverty would become even less accurate.

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First Focus
We are morally obligated to help with economic growth

When the economy falters, job one is fixing it and other priorities must wait. Once it is back on track however, there is no excuse for failing to address urgent needs too long deferred. Especially when it is our children suffering. Though our economy remains far from perfect, opportunity beckons. A report from the National Academy of Sciences earlier this year found we have the opportunity to cut U.S. child poverty in half in the next decade. This moment may not come again in our lifetime.

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First Focus
We can reduce child poverty

Today, one in five U.S. children grows up in poverty. That’s 14 million kids who simply do not get a fair chance at a bright future because they lack access to the quality education and other resources which others may take for granted.

Child poverty is not inevitable – we know that investing in high-quality early childhood education is one of the most effective ways to break the pervasive cycle of poverty and ensure equal opportunity for all families in America.

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First Focus
We Know How to Cut Child Poverty in Half. Will We Do It?

Now, a two-year study by the nonpartisan National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) finds the annual cost of child poverty is $800 billion to $1.1 trillion, or 4 to 5.4 percent of the US gross domestic product. Equally important, the authors demonstrate that income poverty causes great harm to children and adults, particularly when it “occurs in early childhood or persists throughout a large portion of childhood.” That harm includes changes in brain structure, lower educational attainment, reduced adult earnings, and greater need for public assistance.

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First Focus
On Child Poverty: Proposals to Limit Household Access to Effective Anti-poverty Programs Would Only Make It Worse

The U.S. Child Poverty Action Group, a coalition of child-focused organizations dedicated to reducing child poverty in the U.S., is very concerned by recent proposals from Congress and the Administration to weaken public assistance programs by imposing cuts, employment documentation requirements, irrational time limits, and other unnecessary government bureaucratic barriers.

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First Focus
Is America Holding Out on Protecting Children's Rights?

Recently, I asked my 4-, 5-, and 6-year-old students what they thought all children need in order to grow up healthy and strong. They responded readily: Lots and lot of water. Fruits and vegetables. Love. Schools. Homes. Parents. A life. Stuff to play with. A 5-year-old went a step further: “Legos.” A 6-year-old snapped back. “Legos? You don’t need them, but you would want them.”

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First Focus
Tax Credits: A Crucial Weapon in the Fight Against Child Poverty

If a topic like comprehensive tax reform could ever be the rage in Washington, now would be the moment. President Trump has pledged to deliver “big league” changes to taxes, particularly cutting corporate taxes. Standing room-only sessions on Capitol Hill have debated the previously obscure proposal for a ‘border-adjusted’ tax to boost American jobs.

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First Focus
Lack of Progress on Child Poverty Reduction Prompts the Formation of New National Coalition

Amid alarming new Census data showing that nearly one in five children live below the federal poverty line, a coalition of national and state broad-based, child-focused organizations, has formed the U.S. Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), a similar iteration of a group that successfully lobbied for policies that cut child poverty by half in the United Kingdom in 2009.

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First Focus