Child poverty in the US could halve in the next 10 years with a few simple steps, according to a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
The cost would be high at least $ 90 billion a year. However, the National Academies report warns that the price of doing nothing is much higher.
The group estimates that the current level of child poverty costs the US between $ 800 billion and $ 1.1 trillion per year, because poor children's productivity is falling and adults are facing higher costs due to higher levels of crime and poor health. Individual children also suffer from this because they are faced with lower levels of education, maltreatment and other barriers to adulthood. In the end, according to the panel, the whole country pays the price.
"Capable, responsible and healthy adults are the foundation of every well-functioning and prosperous society, but in this respect, the future of the United States is not as assured as it may be," the report said after a two-year visit Study of the Congress was published. It was conducted by an impartial panel of poverty experts, mainly academics.
To solve the problem, the panel proposes two possible packages. The first would expand existing programs that promote work but also provide direct support. These include increasing earned and child tax credits and dependent working-family care, as well as extending housing vouchers and the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (also known as food stamps).
The panel says these changes would cost around $ 90.7 billion a year, but would add about 400,000 people to the labor force and halve the poverty rate of children within 1
The second proposal is the extension of EITC and childcare tax credits, the raising of the minimum wage and the removal of restrictions on the access of immigrant families to state aid. The package would also provide an annual allowance of $ 2,700 for each child. This package would cost $ 109 billion a year, but would create around 600,000 jobs while halving the child poverty rate.
The Panel estimates that in 2015, 9.6 million children – or 13 percent – lived in poverty. Two million of these children were in "deep poverty," meaning that their families had resources below half the poverty line. In 2015, it was $ 26,000 for a family of four.
The poverty rate for children in migrant families was twice as high as for those living in non-migrant families – 21 percent compared to 10 percent. According to the National Academies, poverty was more than twice that of black and Hispanic children than non-Hispanic white children.
The big question is whether Congress will accept the panel's proposals. In recent years, there has been a trend to curtail or limit state aid to the poor, and the Trump administration has indicated that the next budget will require large cuts in domestic spending.
The Panel also noted that some conservative initiatives to reduce child poverty – eg. For example, programs to promote marriage and family planning showed little signs of work. It has also been noted that programs that oblige beneficiaries to work also do not seem to reduce child poverty. The report concludes: "It seems that job demands are rising at least as much as poverty."
The Trump government and congressional Republicans are calling for compelling work demands in a range of utilities, including Medicaid, SNAP, and housing assistance.
Marla Dean, Executive Director of Bright Beginnings, a program in Washington D.C. to help homeless children and families achieve self-sufficiency, testified before the jury. She says the report could at least help shape the future debate on how child poverty can be shaped by rigorous academic research on what works and what does not work. It is also realistic in terms of prospects when the country is so politically divided.
"It's a chance [for] hope," she says, "and that's what I think this report offers hope."