250+ Organizations Endorse Bill to End U.S. Child Poverty
Washington – Over 250 leading children, family, and poverty advocacy organizations endorsed today a bill that would set a national target date for the elimination of child poverty in the United States.
The Child Poverty Reduction Act (S. 2224), introduced by Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), aims to cut child poverty in half in 10 years and end child poverty in America within 20 years. A U.S. House of Representatives version of the bill (H.R. 2408) was introduced in May.
The bill is modeled after a successful policy in the United Kingdom that cut child poverty by 50 percent during the effort’s first decade. By contrast, the U.S. child poverty rate increased by 20 percent, from 16.2 percent in 2000 to 21.1 percent in 2014.
Key provisions include:
- Setting the goal to cut the U.S. child poverty rate in half within ten years and eliminate it within 20 years;
- Requesting the National Academy of Sciences assist in the development of a plan by researching the societal costs of child poverty and make non-partisan recommendations on how to reduce child poverty; and
- Tasking a working group with monitoring progress toward the target at the federal and state levels.
“We applaud Senators Casey, Baldwin, and Brown for leading the effort in Congress to end child poverty once and for all,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus Campaign for Children. “One in five children in America live in poverty, and they are depending on us to move beyond hand-wringing to solving this problem.”
Ending poverty is a difficult task, but one federal government has effectively responded to before. During the 1960s, the poverty rate for the elderly was higher than for children. Federal government dramatically reduced poverty among seniors, by enacting Social Security, Medicare, tax-subsidized retirement plans, and other effective antipoverty investments. But federal government failed to make similar investments in reducing child poverty. Today, the national child poverty rate is double the poverty rate for seniors. In some states, it is close to triple.
“The federal government knows how to make real progress on poverty, and has for seniors. For kids, they just haven’t,” said Lesley. “Allowing kids to remain in poverty when we know exactly how to fix it is unconscionable.”
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The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are the priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit campaignforchildren.org.