More than 100 national and state-based organizations called on Congress today to establish a national child poverty reduction target that would cut child poverty in half within a decade.

Led by First Focus Campaign for Children, advocates including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Save the Children Action Network, SchoolHouse Connection, ZERO TO THREE and dozens of others, petitioned Congressional leadership to swiftly pass the Child Poverty Reduction Act (H.R. 1558/S. 643).

“We have the tools to reduce — and ultimately to end — child poverty,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus Campaign for Children. “What we lack is the political will to do so. Now is the time for Congress to step up and ensure that no child in the wealthiest nation on earth lives in poverty.”

Congress cut child poverty by nearly 30% in 2021 by improving the Child Tax Credit as part of the American Rescue Plan. The failure to extend those improvements, despite their documented effectiveness and popularity, signals a lack of adequate political will to prioritize reducing child poverty in the United States. Our organizations remain committed to a swift and robust extension of these enhanced CTC payments to ensure that millions of children are not forced back into poverty.

The Child Poverty Reduction Act, led by Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) and Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), would codify a national target to cut U.S. child poverty by half in a decade and would task the National Academy of Sciences with analyzing and monitoring progress toward that goal.

The effectiveness of poverty reduction targets is well-established. The United Kingdom cut its child poverty rate in half between 1999 and 2008. Before the outbreak of COVID-19, Canada had reduced child poverty by more than a third since 2015. Momentum is also growing here in the United States, where New York State and Puerto Rico passed child poverty reduction targets at the end of 2021.

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