A new report from Child Trends (also covered in the New York Times) evaluates the biggest factors contributing to the unprecedented 30-year trend of decreasing child poverty. Key findings point to governmental safety net programs as key drivers.
Further, the US Census Bureau released pandemic-era child poverty estimates (through 2021) this week, saying “the new data show the significant impact the expansion of anti-poverty programs during the COVID-19 pandemic had on reducing child poverty.”
Additional recent studies, including from our partners at DataHaven in Connecticut found that food scarcity and child poverty rose after safety net programs ended.
What does that mean for social sector leaders?
First, the scale of government interventions offer opportunities to have the greatest impact. But blanket policies will always leave some households falling through cracks: immigrants, mixed-status and undocumented households, families that are newly navigating human services, digitally disconnected, underemployed, housing burdened, and others. Our role then, is (1) advocate for expanded policies and educate officials of the impact; and (2) find and directly serve the families that are left behind.
Second, the new philanthropic role of counties and cities distributing ARPA funds offers an opportunity, and maybe a model, to (1) build relationships with elected officials and (2) provide guidance in funding and programming decisions that have systemic impacts.