Experts discuss ways to fight child poverty during virtual Children’s Week panel

Housing & Homelessness
Poverty & Family Economics
Racial Equity

Growing up in poverty has life-long consequences for a child’s physical and mental health and economic well-being. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated conditions for millions of children and families, especially for children of color. Yet, child poverty is not an intractable problem.

In this one-hour conversation, First Focus on Children Vice President of Family Economics Cara Baldari guides a panel of experts through potential solutions to child poverty post-COVID-19. Jeff Madrick, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation and author of “Invisible Americans,” traces the history of America’s relationship to poverty and notes that increasing income in the form of a child allowance produces a profound effect.

The National Academy of Sciences’ study “A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty” identifies both a child allowance and an expanded package of tax and other benefits as ways to reduce child poverty by 50% within a decade. Study authors Greg Duncan, Christine James-Brown, and Dolores Acevedo-Garcia note during the conversation that the pandemic and its economic fallout have created even more urgency. Without immediate action on child poverty, experts predict that rates could rise from 14% to 21%. Black and Hispanic children will suffer disproportionately.

“We know that some of the solutions put forth before the pandemic will work,” Acevedo-Garcia says. “We just need to tackle them.”