The artwork on this note card was created by 5768 WRJ Art Calendar artist Césan d’Ornellas Levine.
Child poverty is a national scourge that must end in our generation. We must raise our voices to ensure that federal funding directed towards ending children poverty be increased to ameliorate a recent decline. Earlier this month, the Children’s Defense Fund released a report with new findings this issue, providing a key illustration of just how rampant this problem truly is.
In the United States of America, there are 14.7 million poor children and 6.5 million extremely poor children. This means that the number of poor children (14.7 million) is greater than the combined populations of Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.
The report also discussed how the federal budget could help be a force in combatting these issues of child poverty. If two percent of the federal budget is put towards expanding programs that will help meet children’s needs, increase parental employment and other measures for working families, then child poverty will be cut in the US by over 60%, affecting over 6.6 million children. Social safety net programs are crucial to ensuring children who are experiencing poverty stay afloat. In 2013 federal safety net programs kept 8.2 million children, over 11% of all children, out of poverty. For instance, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) kept 3.2 million children out of poverty in 2013.
When unveiling their new report, Children’s Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edelman noted the high monetary cost of child poverty. In addition, this issue has a high moral cost as well. Jewish tradition places a great deal of value on the sanctity of children and their welfare. We are taught that “by the breath of children God sustains the world” (Talmud Bavli, Shabbat119b). Children are the inheritors of the future, and we have a responsibility to honor children and to ensure that they will soon have the skills and the strength to be our future leaders. This begins with working to combat child poverty.
We need to ensure that we maintain programs that take care of children in the new Congress. Check out the RAC's Economic Justice page to learn more about how to help end child poverty today.