The U.S. Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), a partnership of national, child-focused organizations—including the Child Welfare League of America—dedicated to cutting child poverty in half within a decade held their first webinar. The presentation was based on a compendium of cross-sector solutions to significantly reduce child poverty in the U.S.
CPAG presenters included Lauren Hogan, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Tiffany Smith, National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), and Brian Dittmeier, National WIC Association (NWA). They presented on the need for a universal paid family leave program in the U.S., policies to improve the economic security and well-being of early childhood educators, and strengthening access to effective nutrition services for young children and families.
Lauren. Hogan highlighted investment in early childhood education with a focus on high-quality early childhood education and investment in the workforce. A majority of the early childhood field includes low-income women. On average, an early childhood worker earns $10.40 per hour. In the U.S. there are 24 million children ages 0-5 and 45% are living in low-income families and eligible for early learning but those programs are underfunded. Head Start received noteworthy funding increases in the omnibus bill but those increases are not directed towards the workforce, where two million adults are paid to care for and educate more than twelve million children. Hogan said that solving the trilemma of quality, affordability, and compensation for the workforce has positive outcomes for children, families, and the economy with a stronger early education workforce.
Tiffany Smith focused on implementation of the universal paid family leave approach with an emphasis on medical leave due to pregnancy and child’s birth. She emphasized that universal paid family leave programs alleviate child poverty and can be an income supplement. A paid family leave approach enhances family economic security and improves health, education and economic outcomes.
Brian Dittmeier highlighted how addressing the nutritional needs of pregnant women and child contribute to reducing childhood poverty. He recommended that the federal, state and local government increase awareness and access to the Woman and Infant Children (WIC) program for young children and families. Early childhood poverty should be a priority because it affects children and families.
Each of the presenters emphasized that childhood poverty is solvable and the return on investment is long-term. To learn more about solutions to ending child poverty in the U.S. visit www.childpovertyusa.org. To watch the webinar, click here