PROGRAMS THAT MITIGATE THE EFFECTS OF POVERTY ON CHILDREN

Citation
Bl. Devaney et al., PROGRAMS THAT MITIGATE THE EFFECTS OF POVERTY ON CHILDREN, The Future of children, 7(2), 1997, pp. 88-112
Citations number
79
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
88 - 112
Database
ISI
SICI code
1054-8289(1997)7:2<88:PTMTEO>2.0.ZU;2-4
Abstract
This article reviews six federally funded in-kind public assistance pr ograms that are intended to mitigate the effects of poverty on low-inc ome children by providing access to basic human necessities such as fo od, housing, education, and health care. The evidence suggests that, w hile each program can be improved, these programs do achieve their bas ic objectives. In general, food stamps, the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and school nutrition p rograms are successful at providing food assistance to low-income chil dren, starting with the prenatal period and continuing through the sch ool years. The Food Stamp Program provides food assistance nationwide to all households solely on the basis of financial need and is central to the food assistance safety net for low-income children. The WIC pr ogram has helped reduce the prevalence of iron-deficiency anemia in in fants and children and has increased intakes of certain targeted nutri ents for program participants. The school nutrition programs provide f ree or low-cost meals that satisfy the dietary goals of lunches and br eakfasts to most school-age children. The Medicaid program has extende d health insurance coverage to millions of low-income children. Howeve r, many children remain uninsured, and children enrolled in Medicaid d o not have the same access to medical care as privately insured childr en. Relatively little is known about the effects of Medicaid on childr en's health status. For Head Start, empirical evidence suggests that p articipating children show enhanced cognitive, social, and physical de velopment in the short term. Studies of the longer-term impacts of Hea d Start are inconclusive. Although housing assistance improves housing quality and reduces housing costs for recipients, there is a large un met need for acceptable, affordable housing among poor families. Impor tant gaps remain in our knowledge of the effects of these programs on the well-being of children. Questions regarding a program's effects ov er time on health and developmental outcomes particularly need more st udy.