How can society best address poverty?
Category : Blog
September 24, 2015
By Rebecca Vogel, Jericho Road Dallas volunteer
As a society, we need to commit to supporting policies and actions that put children’s needs first. Children are dependent on their caregivers to provide for their basic needs as well as their social-emotional and developmental needs. Children are vulnerable to poor outcomes when they experience hunger, homelessness, or any kind of family instability. 15 million children, or 1 in 5 in the United States, struggled with food insecurity in 2014 according to Feeding America. 1.6 million children were homeless at some point during the year according to the National Center on Family Homelessness. Countless other children suffer when their caregivers struggle to make ends meet. Any unexpected change or problem such as reduced work hours or a visit to the emergency room can quickly send poor families into crisis and many families don’t have an adequate safety net in place.
Children are impacted by their family’s income, employment and housing status. Children in food-insecure households are more likely to have been hospitalized since birth and are more likely to suffer from health problems. Hunger and poor health lead to a lower quality of life and decreased educational outcomes. Likewise, unstable or poor quality housing contributes to children’s behavioral problems and educational outcomes according to the MacArthur Foundation. Education is directly linked to children’s future employment and income status.
The good news is that children benefit when their families receive nutritious food and housing assistance. Children profit when their caretakers receive educational/vocational training and other services that can lead to good, stable employment. Let’s promote healthy child development and “level the playing field” for children in the educational system. Let’s address the underlying causes of poverty through education and supporting the creation of good jobs. Let’s put the needs of children first by doing everything we can to help families with children.