Nearly half of all children in the United States live in families that have incomes below the federal poverty level. That translates to more than sixteen million children whose families earn about twenty-three thousand, five thousand dollars annually, which is about half of what is required to meet the basic expenses for a family of four.
In many of these families, both parents are working. Even so, they have jobs where the wages are so low they struggle to make ends meet. These conditions have a severe impact on the development of the child, making it difficult for them to learn, and grow up to be contributing members of society. These poor conditions also contribute to social, emotional, and behavioral problems, as well as poor physical and mental health. Those children who experience deep and persistent poverty at an early age are at the greatest risk.
Research has repeatedly demonstrated that poverty is the greatest threat to the well-being of a developing child. Effective public policies can make a big difference. That would include better paying jobs for low-income parents, and the availability of high-quality early care and learning experiences for all children.
Beth Manville Perkasie PA is a lawyer who lives and works in Seattle, Washington. She has always specialized in child advocacy issues, and says that the law and children’s rights are among the things she is most passionate about in life. She was raised in Perkasie PA, attended the University of Washington School of Law, and received her law degree in 2005. She is the single mother of a seven year old girl named Josie.