Sep 9, 2009

Children & Poverty in the U.S.

I am passionate about a lot of stuff.  Most of the things I am passionate about fall into 2 big buckets: Children (birth-young adults, really), and economics (local, global, you name it!).  So put them together, and one of my biggest passions is fighting Child poverty.  I used to think of this issue through an "across the sea" lens, but my worldview has rapidly expanded over the past several years to include the huge rate of Child poverty here in the U.S.

Today, I got an interesting email from The National Center For Children In Poverty.  In the email, an the corresponding website, there were some research findings highlighted that I found very useful.  Here are a few:

* Between 9.5 and 14.2 percent of children between birth and five years old experience social-emotional problems that negatively impact their functioning, development and school-readiness.

* Approximately 9 percent of children who receive specialty mental health services in the United States are younger than 6 years old.

* Boys show a greater prevalence of behavior problems than girls.
 
When Frederick Douglass said that "it is easier to build strong children than to fix broken men," he was spot on.  It is one of the truest statements about what I see happening to our teenagers in the U.S. than just about any other.  We do a lot of "fixing," (in theory), but how much time do we proactively spend "building?"  I know that in my house, we are doing our level best to be builders!
 
So back to Child poverty...Q: how can we invest in building and get less and less dependent on fixing?  Any thoughts?