A Big Win for Children in the Omnibus: A National Academy of Sciences Study on Child PovertyPoverty & Family Economics
While not perfect, the end-of-year spending and tax package passed by Congress includes several wins for children.
One particularly bright spot is the inclusion of $750,000 for a landmark study on child poverty, which directs the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to provide an evidence-based, non-partisan analysis of the macroeconomic, health, and crime/social costs of child poverty as well as recommendations to reduce the number of children living in poverty in the United States by half in ten years.
We are facing a child poverty crisis in the U.S. – 15.5 million children, more than 1 in 5, are living below the poverty line. Children disproportionately experience poverty compared to other age groups – they make up 33 percent of the population of people living in poverty, while only comprising 23 percent of the total population.
Poverty is a particularly serious problem for children, who suffer negative consequences for the rest of their lives experiencing poverty for even a short time. Yet in the U.S. there remains a lack of awareness and government accountability to address child poverty. Solutions that are proposed by are often too politicized and fall along partisan lines.
Due to the NAS’s long history of addressing difficult social policy questions in a balanced and judicious manner, this study will not only raise the profile of the crisis of child poverty in the U.S. but also provide pragmatic solutions that will appeal to lawmakers from both sides of the aisle and provide a basis for constructive action towards cutting the child poverty rate in half within a decade.
First Focus Campaign for Children worked diligently with lawmakers in both chambers and is grateful for the bipartisan, bicameral leadership that led the inclusion of this study, especially Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard and Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who offered an amendment to fund this study that passed the House Appropriations Committee earlier this year.
This study is also a component of the Child Poverty Reduction Act (H.R. 2408/S. 2224), which would establish a national child poverty target that sets the goal of cutting child poverty in half in ten years and eliminating it in twenty years.
This study provides a critical and much-needed step towards building momentum to significantly reduce child poverty in the U.S. We look forward to supporting the NAS as their work gets underway.
For more details on children in the FY16 budget, please see our recent press release. We will be putting out additional analysis in the coming days.
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