The kids are not alright.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession, we were failing our kids on a whole range of domestic and international indicators of child well-being. Some of this was due to children being treated as an afterthought in policy discussions, but even worse, negative outcomes were also the result of systemic disinvestment in children or policy choices where cruelty to children was even intentional.

The Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell referred to some of these policy choices as “Trump’s War on Children.” The Post’s Petula Dvorak added that “America is failing its children” and said our treatment of children has been a “searing indictment of adult indifference.” And the Post’s Colby Itkowitz outlined a litany of problems facing children and concluded:

When issues from guns to immigration to health care to foreign affairs are viewed through the lens of how they affect children, it becomes clear the young are an afterthought when it comes to public policy.

Colby Itkowitz, Washington Post

Even worse, these were all commentaries before the pandemic and economic recession. Unfortunately, things are much worse, as COVID-19 and its economic fallout are negatively impacting every aspect of the lives of children. Their voices, concerns, anxiety, hopes and dreams should be listened to, fully considered, and most of all, addressed. And many of these outcomes are due to policy choices that are or are not made.

As the New York Times’s Jason DeParle writes, “The National Academies [of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine] estimate that child poverty costs the country as a whole $800 billion to $1.1 trillion a year—4.0 to 5.4 percent of GDP—including lower adult earnings, worse health, and higher crime. The good news about a loss so immense is that it translates into a recommendation for investment: money spent on poor kids will likely be ‘very cost-effective over time.’”

We can and must do better by our children — both domestically and internationally.

Please read our full summary of recommendations for the Biden-Harris Transition Team here.