CHILD POVERTY CAN BE REDUCED

Authors
Citation
Rd. Plotnick, CHILD POVERTY CAN BE REDUCED, The Future of children, 7(2), 1997, pp. 72-87
Citations number
43
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Heath Policy & Services","Family Studies
Journal title
ISSN journal
1054-8289
Volume
7
Issue
2
Year of publication
1997
Pages
72 - 87
Database
ISI
SICI code
1054-8289(1997)7:2<72:CPCBR>2.0.ZU;2-X
Abstract
Child poverty can be reduced by policies that help families earn more and supplement earned income with other sources of cash. A comprehensi ve antipoverty strategy could use a combination of these approaches. T his article reviews recent U.S. experience with these broad approaches to reducing child poverty and discusses lessons from abroad for U.S. policymakers. The evidence reviewed suggests that, although policies t o increase earned incomes among low-wage workers can help, these earni ngs gains will not be sufficient to reduce child poverty substantially . Government income support programs, tax policy, and child support pa yments from absent parents can be used to supplement earned incomes of poor families with children. Until recently, Aid to Families with Dep endent Children (AFDC) was the main government assistance program for low-income families with children. Temporary Assistance for Needy Fami lies (TANF) has recently replaced AFDC. This article explains why TANF benefits are likely to be less than AFDC benefits. The article also e xamines the effects of Social Security and Supplemental Security Incom e on child poverty. The most encouraging recent development in antipov erty policy has been the decline in the federal tax burden on poor fam ilies, primarily as a result of the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), now the largest cash assistance program for families w ith children. In 1995, government transfer programs (including the val ue of cash, food, housing, medical care, and taxes) decreased child po verty by 38% (from 24.2% to 14.2% of children under 18). Child poverty may also be reduced by policies that increase contributions from abse nt single parents to support their children. Overall, evidence from th e United States and other developed countries suggests that a variety of approaches to reducing child poverty are feasible. Implementation o f effective programs will depend, however, on the nation's political w illingness to devote more resources to this end.