Connolly, Davis, Lee, Roybal-Allard Introduce Child Poverty Reduction Act
On July 24, 2017, Congressman Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA), Congressman Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) introduced the Child Poverty Reduction Act of 2017 to develop evidence-based policies to cut child poverty by half in 10 years.
Far more children in the U.S. grow up and remain trapped in poverty compared to other industrialized countries. In America, approximately 20 percent of our children – or 14.7 million – live below the poverty line, with roughly half of these children living in extreme 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. The introduction of the bill unites federal efforts with leadership by the National Association of Counties to reduce early childhood poverty. 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 and to seek to eliminate it within 20 years by establishing a federal working group, as proposed by the bill.
“As the former Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, I experienced firsthand the vast power that can be unleashed when a local government combines clear goals, measurable metrics, and a dedicated workforce. Our legislation applies the same principles at the Federal level," Congressman Connolly said. "Such an approach could reduce America’s outrageously high child poverty rate over the next decade through implementation of a national plan with clear strategic goals, metrics, and evidence-based policies.”
Congressman Danny K. Davis said, “We live in the wealthiest nation in the world. It is inexcusable and unacceptable for so many of our children to be condemned to grow up in America under these conditions. This bill says it is time to stop talking about child poverty and to advance evidence-based policies coordinated at the federal, state, and local levels to alleviate this plague. Counties are on the front line of this effort, and Commissioner Roy Charles Brooks and the National Association of Counties will provide important immediate help to families through the early childhood poverty initiative.”
“Any child living in poverty is one child too many. Yet, nearly one in five American children and one in three Black and Latino children live in poverty,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), chair of the Democratic Whip’s Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality and Opportunity. “This legislation establishes the vital infrastructure to use proven, scientific and evidence-based programs to cut child poverty in half over the next ten years. We can and must do more to build pathways out of poverty for children and their families.”
Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard said, “No child should grow up in poverty, no matter where they live, where they've come from, or who they are. That is why I am proud to help introduce the Child Poverty Reduction Act. This bill will help us pinpoint and push for evidence-based policies to prevent future generations of American youth from having to face the wrenching hunger, fear, and despair of poverty."
“We need a strong federal-state-local partnership to effectively combat poverty in the United States. Counties invest in critical services that break cycles of poverty and help children and families thrive. We applaud this legislation as part of this effort to reduce childhood poverty by removing barriers and building opportunities for children across the country,” said Tarrant County, Texas Commissioner Roy Charles Brooks, the incoming president of the National Association of Counties. During his term as president, Brooks will focus on addressing early childhood poverty and the county role in helping low-income families find paths to success.
The Child Poverty Reduction Act also is championed by Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and is supported by over 30 organizations, including the following national organizations: First Focus Campaign for Children; Children’s Advocacy Institute; Children’s Home Society of America; Family Focused Treatment Association; Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice; HEAR US, Inc.; Leadership Conference of Women Religious; National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health; National Association for Counsel for Children; National Center on Adoption and Permanency; National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives; Provincial Council Clerics of St. Viator; RESULTS; and Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law..