Transition Plan for Secure Families
Prior to the pandemic, one in six children, or 16 percent, lived in poverty, with child poverty rates much higher for Black and Hispanic children than for non-Hispanic, white children. Children who grow up poor develop weaker language, memory, and self-regulation skills than their peers and when they grow up, they have lower earnings and income and more health problems.
Invest in policies and programs we know help lift children out of poverty and improve their health. Federal anti-poverty and safety net programs, including those that provide health care (and access to health care through Medicaid and CHIP), early education (such as Head Start and Early Head Start), quality child care, affordable housing and home visiting, as well as critical nutrition assistance programs like WIC, SNAP, school meals, and summer feeding programs must be protected and accessible to all families in need.
Implement the recommendations of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine consensus report “A Roadmap to Ending Child Poverty.” This report found, as pediatricians know, federal programs that alleviate poverty have been shown to improve child wellbeing.
Use an Official Poverty Measure (OPM) that accurately accounts for inflation and expenses that many low-income families incur such as childcare and out-of-pocket medical costs. The administration should abandon the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Request for Comment on the Consumer Inflation Measures Produced by Federal Statistical Agencies. Instead of using a measure of inflation like the C-CPI-U, or chained CPI, OMB should adopt a more accurate poverty measure such as the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty measure, which better measures the cost of current basic living expenses and produces a poverty threshold that is higher than the OPM for most household types.
Increase family income. Support and expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) in order to increase family income including for mixed-status families. The administration should commit to increasing the minimum wage.
American Academy of Pediatrics