Representative Davis and Senator Casey Champion Effort to Cut Child Poverty in Half in 10 Years
Washington, D.C.- On June 30, 2020, Congressman Danny K. Davis (D-IL) and Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA) introduced the Child Poverty Reduction Act of 2020 to commit to cutting child poverty in half in 10 years and to monitor progress using the nonpartisan, evidence-based National Academy of Sciences.
Far more children in the U.S. grow up and remain trapped in poverty compared to other industrialized countries. Pre-pandemic, approximately 16 percent of our children – or 11.9 million – lived below the poverty line in the U.S., with roughly half of these children living in extreme poverty. Alarmingly, the rates of poverty have soared during the pandemic, especially for Black and Latinx families. Between February and May 2020, approximately 3.8 million more children(22 percent) lived in families with below-poverty earnings. Experts predict that child poverty could rise by approximately 53 percent, and 40 percent of mothers with children under 12recently reported struggling to feed their families. Researchers at Columbia University have seen some hope that substantial federal assistance could mitigate pandemic-related povertygiven their analysis showing that the CARES Act could limit the rise of poverty, keeping it close to pre-crisis levels. If enacted, the bill would monitor the effects of federal policies on child poverty.
The injustice of high child poverty rates in our nation is magnified by the tremendous suffering poverty inflicts on our youth, families, communities, and nation and by the reality that poverty exacts a greater toll on children of color. Children who grow up in poverty experience greater health and emotional problems as well as poorer academic and economic success compared to their more affluent peers. Impoverished communities endure high rates of unemployment, health problems, crime, and economic hardship than more affluent communities.
The Child Poverty Reduction Act sets a national goal to cut childhood poverty by 50 percent in 10 years and uses science to implement a roadmap for success. A recent study found overwhelming support - including 59 percent of Republicans and 89 percent of Democrats – to reduce child poverty by half in 10 years, as proposed by the bill.
Congressman Danny K. Davis said, “Child poverty underlies a persistent tangle of inequities in our society. Children who grow up poor end up earning less than other children; they suffer significantly greater health risks, encounter more trauma and social conflict and face greater barriers in education in proportion to the number of years they live in poverty. We need the tools to measure and understand the links behind childhood poverty and long-term outlooks for child development. This legislation will provide the non-partisan, scientific basis for shaping evidence-based programs and policies to level the playing field for all our children.”
“Every child in America should have the opportunity to be economically secure,” said Senator Casey. “More than 15 percent of children in Pennsylvania grow up in poverty. This is unacceptable. The Child Poverty Reduction Act makes a commitment to cut child poverty in half over the next decade. Economic stability and security for children and their families are the best predictors of a child’s wellbeing. We must ensure every child has the opportunity to grow and flourish and every child in America should have the freedom to reach her or his full potential.”
The Child Poverty Reduction Act is supported by numerous organizations, including the following national organizations: Child Welfare League of America; Children’s Health Fund; First Focus Campaign for Children; National Association for the Education of Young Children; National Association of Counties; National Diaper Bank Network; National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives; National WIC Association; Save the Children Action Network; and ZERO TO THREE.