New Bill Aims to Cut Child Poverty Rate in Half in a Decade
Ari Goldberg (Former Staff)Poverty & Family Economics
WASHINGTON–The Child Poverty Reduction Act (S.1630 / H.R.3381) was reintroduced today by US Sens. Bob Casey (PA), Tammy Baldwin (WI), and Sherrod Brown (OH) and US Reps. Danny K. Davis (IL-7), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Gerald E. Connolly (VA-11) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40). The bill creates a national target to reduce child poverty in the US by 50 percent in ten years and eliminate it entirely within 20 years.
The legislation complements efforts by leaders of the National Association of Counties (NACo) to reduce early childhood poverty.
“We need a strong federal-state-local partnership to effectively combat poverty in the United States,” said Roy Charles Brooks, Texas Commissioner of Tarrant County and incoming NACO President. “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.”
During his term at the helm of NACo, Brooks said he plans to focus on addressing early childhood poverty and the county role in helping low-income families find paths to success.
A recent study conducted by the University of Maryland found overwhelming public support (59 percent of Republicans and 89 percent of Democrats) for cutting child poverty by half within a decade and to eliminate it in 20 years by establishing a federal working group, as proposed by the bill.
“We know the American people strongly support action to reduce child poverty, as it is a national crisis that threatens the well-being and future of the next generation.and requires attention at the federal, state and local levels in order to see real progress,” said Bruce Lesley, President of the First Focus Campaign for Children. “We’re proud to endorse this bill and applaud Senators Casey, Baldwin, and Brown, and Reps. Davis, Lee, Connolly and Roybal-Allard for their coordinated leadership.”
The Child Poverty Reduction Act is modeled on a successful British effort that significantly reduced child poverty. Key provisions of the US plan include:
- Setting a national target to cut child poverty in half in 10 years and end child poverty by within 20 years;
- Charging a Federal Interagency Working Group on Reducing Child Poverty with developing a plan to reach that target;
- Requiring the plan be developed in consultation with non-governmental entities providing social services to low-income children and families, advocacy groups that directly represent low-income children and families, policy experts, and officials of State, local, and tribal governments, including the working group of the largest State and local associations, who administer or direct policy for anti-poverty programs;
- Tasking the working group with monitoring progress toward the target.
In addition to First Focus Campaign for Children, more than 30 national and state organizations have also endorsed the Child Poverty Reduction Act.
The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a nonpartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are the priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit campaignforchildren.org.