46 Million

May 7, 2014

Abandoned child's backpack and lego set in dirt.

Copyright 2014 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

According to the Census Bureau, there are 46 million Americans living in poverty today.  Please read and/or listen to this report from National Public Radio, which includes several stories about the impact poverty has on children.  This report does not specifically cite the Census Bureau 2013 data indicating that 23.7% of United States children aged 18 and younger lived below the poverty line in 2012.

The NPR report does, however, discuss the consequences for children growing up in poverty and mentions the Head Start program.  The past Federal budget sequestration cut 57,000 children from Head Start programs, according to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.  In 2014, Congress passed, and the President signed, The Consolidated Appropriations Act, which helped restore that funding.

David K. Shipler discusses the interaction of personal responsibility and public systemic issues that result in poverty and his book is worth a read.  It is important to remember that children do not choose their parents.

There is a side story at that NPR link reminding us that President Lyndon Johnson declared a war on poverty 50 years ago, and indeed, poverty does look somewhat different today.  However, the longer term impacts remain; especially when poverty and services to children becomes politicized.

The backpack and building block set pictured above were dug out of the muck in an alley beside an abandoned apartment building in Detroit.  It is symbolic of the fact that children often suffer the most and invoked a profound sense of sadness.

Take care.

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