In the United States, child poverty can be halved in the next 10 years, with a few simple steps, according to a new report by the National Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Engineering and Medicine.
The cost would be high – at least $ 90 billion a year. However, the report of the National Academies warns that the price of not doing anything would be much greater.
The group estimates that the current level of child poverty in the United States is between $ 800 billion and $ 1.1 trillion each year, as weak children become adults and higher costs due to higher crime and poor health. Individual children also suffer because they face lower levels of education, ill-treatment and other poverty-related obstacles. Finally, the panel says the whole country is paying the price.
"Adequate responsible and healthy adults are the foundation of any well-functioning and prosperous society, but in this context, the future of the United States is not as safe as it may be," the report said, a two-year annual Congressional commission. This was led by a non-poverty expert body, primarily scientists.
To resolve this problem, the panel suggests two possible packages. The first would extend the programs that encourage work but provide direct assistance. This would include increasing income tax credits and child and dependent care tax credits for working families, as well as expanding housing vouchers and additional nutritional assistance programs, also known as food stamps.
The board says that these changes would cost around $ 90.7 billion a year, but would bring about 400,000 people into the workforce and reduce child poverty rates by half within 10 years.
The second proposal is to extend the EITC and the childcare tax credit, to raise the minimum wage and to limit the access of immigrant families to state aid. The package provides an annual fee of $ 2,700 for all children. This package would cost $ 109 billion a year, but would create around 600,000 jobs, while reducing child poverty by half.
The panel estimates that in 2015, 9.6 million children – or 13 percent – were living in poverty. Two of these children were "in deep poverty", which means that their families had resources that were half the poverty line. In 2015, this line was $ 26,000 for four thousand families.
The poverty rate of children of immigrant families was twice as high as that of non-immigrant families – 21 percent compared to 10 percent. The poverty of black and Spanish children was more than twice as high as that of non-Spanish white children, according to National Academies.
The big question is, does Congress accept the panel's proposals. In recent years, there has been a tendency to reduce or limit state aid to the poor, and the Trump government has indicated that the next budget will require a sharp reduction in domestic spending.
The Panel also noted that some conservative initiatives to reduce child poverty, such as programs to promote marriage and family planning, showed little evidence of work. He also found that the programs requiring support did not reduce child poverty. In fact, the report concludes: "Work demands appear to be at least as likely to increase poverty reduction."
The Trump Administration and the Republican Republicans have imposed mandatory labor requirements in many support programs, including Medicaid, SNAP, and Housing Support.
Marla Dean, Managing Director of Bright Beginnings, a Washington D.C. program aimed at helping homeless children and families for self-sufficiency, testified to the College. He says, at least, the report can help in the future debate on reducing child poverty by providing rigorous scientific research on what works and does not work. But it is also realistic to see how the country can be achieved if the country is politically divided.
"This is an option [for] I hope – he says – and that's what I think this report is hope for.