Setting a Child Poverty Target is the Way Forward to Ending the Crisis

Washington, DC: Today, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a landmark consensus study on child poverty that confirms that child poverty is a solvable problem when there is the political will to address it. Written by a committee of the nation’s leading experts,A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty puts forward an evidence-based policy agenda that, if prioritized and implemented by our nation’s lawmakers, would cut our child poverty rate in half within a decade.

We know we can eliminate child poverty, now is the time to act. The U.S. Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), a partnership of over 20 anti-poverty organizations, is launching End Child Poverty U.S., a national campaign to establish a target to cut child poverty in half within a decade and eliminating it within 20 years.

“Children are one-quarter of our population but all of our future, yet our persistently high level of child poverty proves we are not doing enough to ensure that every child has a fair shot at success. That is why today, we are thrilled to be launching the End Child Poverty U.S. campaign, which calls upon Congress and the Administration to establish a national child poverty target. The findings from today’s National Academies study shows us that child poverty is solvable – now we just need the public and political will to do something about it.”
Bruce Lesley, President, First Focus 

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. Kids can’t vote or donate to political action committees so we need to be their voice. Establishing a child poverty target would provide a powerful tool to hold the federal government accountable to finally making kids the top priority they should be.”
-Mark Shriver, CEO, Save the Children Action Network

Kids who have access to healthcare, nutrition, and early education see long-term benefits. “These children grow to be healthier, graduate from high school and college, and are employed at higher levels. So we must fight to end child poverty, and setting a national target would allow us to hold our government and elected officials accountable. We know the right solutions so let’s fight for a better future.”
-Andrea Kovach, Senior Attorney for Healthcare Justice at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law

The data released today confirms what we already know — too many children are living in poverty in this country. For Latino children, who are twice as likely as White children to live in poverty, the stats are even worse. Approximately 4.9 million Latino children lived in poverty in 2017 and an additional 2.8 million Latino children were lifted out of poverty in 2017 by social safety net programs. Congress and the Administration must choose to prioritize reducing child poverty — our children and our economy depend on it.”
-Jennifer Brown, Associate Director of Economic Policy, UnidosUS

The National WIC Association (NWA) – the advocacy voice of the WIC program – has for four decades promoted policies that support and raise children and their caregivers out of poverty. Bringing an end to child poverty must be our nation’s top priority. Setting a clear national target will help us reach that goal. We have procrastinated long enough.”
-Reverend Douglas Greenaway, President and CEO, National WIC Association 

With 1 in 6 kids in America living with hunger, now is the time for leadership and action. We know that when kids get the nutrition they need they grow up healthier, are ready to learn, and are more likely to escape the cycle of poverty. It’s imperative that we establish a national target and work to cut the child poverty rate. When our kids are healthy, educated and strong, our communities and economy are stronger. We know that these issues are complicated, but we have evidence-based solutions that have proven that hunger and poverty are solvable problems. Not only do our investments in children create opportunities for them to thrive today, they are smart down payments on the future prosperity and success of the nation.”
-Lisa Davis, Senior Vice President, No Kid Hungry Campaign, Share Our Strength

Tackling child poverty through a comprehensive set of policies and programs that support all people in poverty is critical because children do better when their families do better. Moreover, investing in our nation’s children is the most cost-effective way to address inequality. We need to aim for big changes to address this big problem, and setting a national target is an important first step toward these changes.”
-Heather Koball, Director of the National Center for Children in Poverty

“Basics aren’t basic, they’re essential. We know that child poverty limits access to the basic necessities all children need to thrive and prosper. Fortunately, the Roadmap outlined today offers viable solutions—some even simple—that our policy makers and out communities can adopt to reduce and eliminate the unacceptable rates of child poverty in the U.S.”
-Joanne Goldblum, CEO, National Diaper Bank Network

Child poverty is a preventable problem with demonstrated, evidence-based solutions to treat both its causes and consequences. The Academy report will motivate a national discussion on this largely ignored problem and facilitate targeted investments to solve this profound problem that afflicts our society at all levels.”
-John Roman, co-director of the National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives (NPSC) 

Child poverty remains stubbornly high in the United States – 13 million children live in poverty, and children are 62 percent more likely to live in poverty than adults. Child poverty damages childhoods and our economy, costing our country over $1 trillion a year.

Yet we know child poverty is not inevitable. The United Kingdom cut their absolute child poverty rate in half between 2000 and 2010 through a national commitment and coordinated strategy. Establishing a national child poverty target in the United States would create a tool for stakeholders advocating on behalf of children to hold the government accountable to making child poverty reduction a priority.

In 2016, First Focus established the U.S. Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), a partnership of non-profit, child-focused organizations. CPAG has now grown to over 20 national partners working to elevate the issue of child poverty in the United States though information sharing, policy education, and direct advocacy.