Childhood Poverty

This post is going to offend someone most likely.  However, my intent is to open a dialogue and gain a wider perspective on something that has been troubling me.

On Facebook, I have been seeing many different posts dedicated to raising the awareness of childhood poverty.  I’m not sure I understand this.  Why is it specifically childhood poverty?  I don’t consider my daughter to be neither poor nor wealthy.  My daughter does not have any assets, unless her doll house counts. 

I’m not trying to make light of a very serious problem that affects approximately 22% of children in the United States.  As I said before, I’m puzzled.  Does citing poverty rates for families with the label of childhood poverty somehow provide us with a plan of action or a solution?  I don’t think so.  Please enlighten me if I’m missing something important here.

Isn’t this counterproductive?  The focus should be on improving the situation of the parents, with improvements such as a living wage, or higher education that doesn’t incur lifelong debt for the recipient.  Urging people to donate to help end childhood poverty isn’t a solution.  This approach puts a band-aide on a hemorrhaging wound only to add another band-aide once the first proves ineffective at stopping the hemorrhage.  As well-intentioned as this obviously is, we’re missing the mark.

When are we going to wake up?  When are we going to quit throwing money at every problem?  Why is our system so broken that meaningful, permanent solutions are things only heard of in fairytales?

Do I have an obtainable solution?  No, I don’t.  Do I expect any one person capable of producing a practical solution that could be implemented without in depth research?  No, I don’t.  But an open dialogue would be a positive step.

I am a strong believer in community specific solutions.  What works in Detroit may not be a practical solution for Houston.  But, a successful program in St. Louis could be something that also works for Kansas City or Chicago.  My sense of social responsibility always starts with my own community.  I think solutions should start in individual communities, too.

I wonder if reducing the cost of higher education is something that will ever happen in my lifetime.  I also wonder if that would make any difference in poverty rates.


6 Replies to “Childhood Poverty”

  1. I am chiming in, slightly disappointed but greatly refreshed that you did not offend me. As a society we look down on poor people, they are losers who do not try hard, excuse makers, we are so busy swilling the snake oil peddled by celebrity motivators that our empathy is sinking, yet we need causes and charities, so let’s focus on a group like, well heck, children. Everybody will get on board with that right? So let’s help them but those parents of theirs, they are on their own! Where is the money going? Are the kids getting wads of cash? We have so many phony baloney charities set up to meet narcissistic needs of donors we rarely ask, how is throwing money to someone who is “fighting” childhood poverty going to work? I wish I had the answers and I hope it entails reducing the price of higher education that right now, is a poor business decision for many to obtain. Great post/

    1. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

      You said it exactly. What exactly is going to happen to the money donated to fight childhood poverty? I’m a very practical, straightforward person. I like practical, straightforward answers.

      I also think the price of childcare is pretty steep. Most impoverished families can get state assistance to pay a portion of day care costs, but what about those individuals that can’t find a job with daytime hours? There aren’t many state-approved childcare providers that accept state assisted families for evening hours childcare in my area. The closest such provider I’m aware of is a forty minute drive from my hometown.

      I could go on, and on, and on…

      1. It is not cheap = euphemism. Most people are losing salaried jobs to go hourly, so when you do not go to work, you lose income. Sometimes you have to go to work to keep a job and an entire day’s pay goes to daycare should the child have a dreaded “day off” in the middle of the week. We could go on and on, but then that wouldn’t be solving the problems either. So I shall stop. 🙂

      2. So true.

        I’m not saying reducing higher education costs or childcare costs would solve everything, but those are two things that have personally impacted my ability to provide for my family when I was a single mom.

  2. I think the focus is on childhood poverty because it is more likely to pull at the heart strings than adult poverty. It’s sad that as a society poverty is still existent, let alone ignored by so many. If you were presented with two people in exactly the same situation, and you could only help one: hungry, homeless (whatever the case may be, but identical) one an adult and one a child….most people will pick the child.

    1. Thanks for reading.

      You are quite right. It does play to our sympathies to picture a poor child versus a poor adult.

      As wealth in a nation increases, so does the standard of living. The government has decreed that anyone making below something like 24k a year is considered impoverished. I wonder how this compares to the standard of living for an impoverished family 50 years ago.

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