For a child to succeed, they need quality and healthy homes, generous income and wealth support, valuable health care, sufficient nutritious food, decent schools, safer neighborhoods, and access to resources and opportunities that enable them to reach their full potential. Our children are motivated, but too often the odds are stacked against them and the basic needs for success are out of reach.
Every child ought to survive in a world where they can learn, succeed, and live up to their fullest potential. The only way to do so is to tackle our current systems and institutional racism and further change for all our communities, especially our Black, Latino, Asian, and indigenous children, and families.
In the United States nearly 10.5 million children were poor in 2019. Most of these children lived in extreme poverty at less than half the poverty level. Racial and ethnic children, which make up most of all children and our nation’s future are at greatest risk. Seventy-one percent of poor children were racial and ethnic. 1 in 4 Black and 1 in 5 Hispanic and Indigenous children were poor compared with 1 in 12 white children. Across all racial and ethnic groups, the younger children were the poorest. Approximately 1 in 6 children under 6 lived in poverty during their years of greatest brain development.
Poverty and income inequality leave children without reliable access to basic needs, such as nutritious food, healthful homes, quality health care, and other resources to support their healthy development to succeed.
In 2019, more than 1 in 7 American children experienced food insecurity and did not have enough to eat.
Lots of children did not even have a safe and stable place to sleep. Over 1.5 million school-aged children experienced homeless less during the 2017-2018 school year, living in shelters, transitional housing, couch surfing or on the streets.
Children in poverty are more likely to be uninsured.
When we deny millions of children basic needs like food, housing, and healthcare this creates devastating and lasting consequences. Child poverty creates gaps in cognitive skills for young children, jeopardizes their health and ability to learn, and fuels an intergenerational cycle of poverty. Child poverty is too costly for our children and nation, it’s neither necessary nor morally defensible.
We dream of an World where we fully invest in our communities, particularly communities of minorities, so that no child lives in poverty, which racial justice is realized, and all children have the chances they need to reach their full potential. We believe that we must eradicate the systemic and institutional racism and discrimination embedded in our institutions and our policies to fully realize this dream. As a country, we have the resources to end child poverty now and must create the will to do so. The future of our children and our nation depends on it.
We will fight to end child poverty and ensure all families have resources they need to thrive and flourish by expanding, improving, and advancing new federal programs and policies that help our communities. Ending child poverty will take a multifaceted approach. To end child poverty at once, we must:
- Ensure Children’s Basic Needs are Met
- Enact a robust, permanent child allowance and baby bonds
- Ensure a living wage and support for families and their children
- Ensure more children and youth have the support they need from the start