Press Releases

Reps. Roybal-Allard and Lee Celebrate Release of Landmark Child Poverty Study They Led the Effort to Fund

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Washington, February 28, 2019 | Ben Soskin ((202) 225-1766) | comments
Today, Congresswomen Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) and Barbara Lee (CA-13) celebrated the release of a landmark study on child poverty which the congresswomen fought to secure funding for as members of the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee.

The study, titled A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty, from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, is a comprehensive, non-partisan analysis of child poverty in the United States.  It can be read here.  Congresswomen Roybal-Allard and Lee secured funding for the study with an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2016 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Bill, with $750,000 in funding from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Social Services and Income Maintenance Research account.  They secured another $500,000 for the study in Fiscal Year 2017.

“The tragic truth is that in 2019, in the richest country on earth, millions of American children – many of them children of color – continue to experience terrible, crushing poverty. Not only is child poverty immoral, it weakens our country, reducing the talent and productivity of America’s next generation. That is why it was a privilege to fight alongside Congresswoman Lee for the funding for this groundbreaking child poverty report in the FY 2016 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Bill, and I commend the National Academies on the report’s completion and release,” said Congresswoman Roybal-Allard.  “The findings of this report, A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty, give new depth to our understanding of the causes and the devastating consequences of child poverty, and their recommendations lay out a roadmap for our government to follow as we work to cut child poverty in half in the coming decade.  I commend this report to all those who care about the welfare of America’s children; I am certain it will give new depths to our nation’s perspective on child poverty for many years to come.”

“It is a moral outrage that in the richest nation on earth, there are still millions of children living in poverty.  No parent should have to choose between keeping a roof over their child’s head and putting food on the table.  But for many children, especially children of color, systemic barriers keep them and their families trapped at the bottom of the economic ladder.  This report, which Congresswoman Roybal-Allard and I commissioned in the Fiscal Year 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Committee, sets a clear target for significantly reducing child poverty in our nation,” said Congresswoman Lee.  “More importantly, the A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty report includes a comprehensive list of evidence-based, non-partisan policy recommendations that, collectively, can cut our child poverty rate in half within 10 years.  It is now up to Congress to ensure these policies and programs are implemented.  We can and must tackle child poverty once and for all.” 

“First Focus is grateful to Congresswoman Lee and Congresswoman Roybal-Allard for their leadership on championing today’s landmark study, A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty, from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine,” said Bruce Lesley, the president of First Focus on Children.  “Children are one-quarter of our population but all of our future, yet our persistently high level of child poverty proves we are not doing enough to ensure that every child has a fair shot at success.  Today’s study confirms that child poverty is a solvable problem by putting forward an evidence-based policy agenda that would cut our child poverty rate in half within a decade.”

The study was commissioned to examine the causes of child poverty, individual impact, macroeconomic costs, and the direct impact on both the federal budget and the nation as a whole.  In addition, the study’s working group was asked to provide pragmatic, evidence-based recommendations on how to achieve a goal of cutting child poverty in half within the next ten years.  As a summary of the study states, “The National Academies appointed a committee with expertise in economics, psychology, cognitive science, public policy, education, sociology, and pediatrics to conduct the study and issue a report.  The committee’s report, A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty, concludes that poverty causes negative outcomes for children, especially if it occurs in early childhood or persists through a large part of childhood.  Studies estimate that child poverty costs the nation roughly between $800 billion and $1.1 trillion annually in terms of lost adult productivity, the increased costs of crime, and increased health expenditures.  The report identifies two packages of policies and programs that could reduce child poverty in the United States by half within 10 years, at a cost far lower than the estimated costs it bears from child poverty.”

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