America has a rising crisis on its hands-- child poverty. A study released on August 17, 2011 by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that child poverty has increased in 38 states from 2000-2009 leaving 14.7 million children in families that fell below the federal poverty level in 2009. That is 1 in 5 children living in poverty.
Today's federal poverty level is $22,350 a year for a family of four. The researching foundation on child well-being cited that research has shown that the federal poverty level should be double that for a family of four at $44,700. The current level has not changed since the 1960s.
The increase of child poverty over the years will have a devastating effect on the economy and especially on the children. According to the Daily Mail, “In the foundation's first examination of the impact of the recession on the nation's children, the researchers concluded that low-income children will likely suffer academically, economically and socially long after their parents have recovered.”
Stephen Brown, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Nevada, sees a bleak future for the economy, “What we are looking at is a cohort of kids who as they become adults may be less able to contribute to the growth of the economy. It could go on for multiple generations.”
The study concluded that the rise in child poverty would be a great social cost to America which would include reduced economic output, higher health expeditures and an increase in criminal justice costs for society.
Patrick T. McCarthy, President and CEO of The Annie E. Casey Foundation, believes that “We can—and must—do better. With sound investments, we can provide all children with the opportunity to reach the full potential of their talents and ambitions, while setting the nation on a path to renewed economic prosperity. It won’t be easy, but as a nation, we have the knowledge, tools, and determination to make it happen.”
Visit KIDS COUNT to learn more about the child poverty levels in your state and to find out what you can do to make a difference.
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