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Learning from Great Britain’s Efforts to End Child Poverty

Poverty & Family Economics

The Chronicle of Social Change

By Sam Waxman


Results from Great Britain’s experiments in successfully reducing child poverty provide a blueprint for the U.S. to do the same, according to Columbia University researcher Jane Waldfogel. But waning enthusiasm for this initiative in England threatens its success.

The rise and (potential) fall of Britain’s commitment to end child poverty by 2020 provides key lessons for U.S. policymakers as Congress considers new child welfare legislation this year.

How Britain Cut Child Poverty in Half

Prime Minister Tony Blair announced a sweeping child welfare reform agenda in 1999. In a public address at the University of Bristol that surprised even his closest advisors, he vowed to end child poverty by 2020. “I will set out our historic aim that ours is the first generation to end child poverty forever,” Blair said, “and it will take a generation. It is a 20-year mission but I believe it can be done.”

The government worked quickly to …

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