More than 50 years ago, with the U.S. poverty rate at 17.3 percent, President Lyndon Johnson declared a war on poverty. In 2013, even with the Great Recession in our collective rearview mirror, the poverty rate stood at 14.5 percent.1 In 2014, the official poverty line was $24,008 for a family of two adults and two children. That year, 15.7 million children (22 percent) lived in families with incomes below the poverty line.2
According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, poverty is one of the greatest threats to child development. It can inhibit cognitive development and contribute to behavioral, social and emotional problems as well as poor health outcomes later in life.
Federal anti-poverty programs still play a major role in efforts to stamp out poverty, especially among children. Most Federal support for child-based anti-poverty efforts is centered within agencies under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The oldest such agency is the Children’s Bureau (CB), which was started in 1912 to improve the lives of children and families across the country.
Nonprofit organizations also have played and continue to play a key role in efforts to lessen and alleviate child-based poverty and to aid children at risk of suffering from poor social, financial, educational, and health outcomes. Some well-known and well-respected nonprofit organizations that help alleviate child-based poverty and aid children and families in many diverse areas include:
- Annie E. Casey Foundation: http://www.aecf.org/work/
- Children’s Defense Fund: http://www.childrensdefense.org/
- Contra Costa Child Care Council: https://www.cocokids.org/
- Feeding America: http://www.feedingamerica.org/
- Habitat for Humanity: http://www.habitat.org/
- National Center for Children in Poverty: http://www.nccp.org/.
Federally sponsored efforts to reduce child-based poverty will continue into the foreseeable future, as no doubt will the complementary efforts of the aforementioned nonprofit organizations and many others not listed above. At BLH Technologies®, we recognize the importance of addressing childhood poverty, and are pleased to contribute to our clients’ efforts to help improve the lives of children and families.
1 CNN Money U.S. Web site, September 16, 2014, http://money.cnn.com/2014/09/16/news/economy/median-income-poverty-rate-down-census/.
2 Annie E. Casey Foundation (2016). Kids Count Data Book. http://www.aecf.org/m/resourcedoc/aecf-the2016kidscountdatabook-2016.pdf