WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced the Child Poverty Act, which would establish a national target to reduce the number of children living in poverty in the United States. Child poverty would be cut in half in the first 10 years, and completely eliminated in 20 years. To meet these goals, the bill tasks a Federal Interagency Working Group on Reducing Child Poverty with developing a plan that would include recommendations to improve the coordination and efficiency of existing initiatives as well as recommendations for new legislation that would be needed to meet the target. It also instructs the working group to monitor the level of progress being made towards achieving the goals at federal and state levels.
“There are over 500,000 children in Pennsylvania living in poverty, and this is unacceptable. This crisis not only effects individual children, but also has broader societal effects including higher spending on health care, increased rates of crime, reduced rates of education attainment and higher spending on remedial education. This legislation is a step forward in finding a solution and helping our children,” said Sen. Casey.
“With over 18 percent of Wisconsin’s children, and nearly 50 percent of the state’s African-American children, living below the poverty level, we have a moral responsibility to take bold action,” said Senator Baldwin. “I’m proud to lead this call to action with Senator Casey to meet the challenge of cutting child poverty in half over the next ten years. This is a problem that government cannot address alone, it is going to take a national commitment to act and solve this problem.”
“There are far too many children living in poverty both in Ohio and across our country,” said Senator Brown. “We have a duty to take steps to eradicate child poverty and seek strategies and develop initiatives that will help ensure the healthy development and economic security of every child.”
Creating a national target to cut child poverty is not unprecedented. In 1999, the United Kingdom established a national child poverty target and measured in U.S. terms, the UK’s Child Poverty Target and the policy changes made in conjunction with that effort reduced Britain’s child poverty rate by 50 percent over the first ten years (1999-2009). In comparison, between 2000 and 2013 the U.S. child poverty rate increased by over 20 percent.