Poverty

Poverty is the greatest threat to children’s healthy development. Twenty-five percent of children under age six live in poverty. That’s six million young kids whose parents struggle to afford safe housing, healthy food, and quality early care and learning. Growing up in poverty has long-term consequences for children’s well-being, impacting children’s health, academic achievement, and social-emotional development. The negative effects of poverty are greatest when children are young.

Docs for Tots believes that families need access to a range of supports in order to be financially secure. Young children’s doctors can connect families with important resources, like tax credits, and be advocates for strengthening supports like family leave insurance. Doctors can also be a powerful voice for drawing attention to the health consequences of child poverty.

Docs for Tots:

  • Provides resources, tools, technical assistance and trainings for doctors and early childhood professionals to directly support families’ financial health
  • Provides financial health resources to parents
  • Advocates for strengthening important supports, including family leave insurance, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and food stamps
  • Advocates for policies, investments, and best practices, that get to the root causes of poverty

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High rates of child poverty and income inequality in the U.S. can be reduced, but effective, widespread, and long-lasting change will require shifts in both national policy and the economy.

National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health