On December 3, 2009, President Barack Obama will convene a forum to brainstorm ideas on how to get more Americans back to work after the U.S. unemployment hit a record high of 10.2 percent. In addition, Congress is currently considering job creation and retention legislation. As these issues are debated, the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) and Every Child Matters urge Congress to consider the needs of children as well, when considering measures to help spur the economy.
“Children’s needs are greater when parents are out of work,” said Linda K. Smith, Executive Director of NACCRRA. “To have a discussion about economic recovery without a discussion about how to address the needs of children during these times is a grave mistake.”
Currently, about one in four children under 18 is living in poverty and 21.3 percent of children under 6. Over half (53.3 percent) of children growing up alone with their mother are living in poverty. More than one in five children (22.5 percent) live in families where food is scarce. Nearly 10 percent of children lack health insurance - over 7 million children. And only one out of every seven eligible children receives child care assistance and the care that children have access to is of dubious quality.
“State budget cuts have devastated children’s programs across the country and children and families across the nation are feeling the effects,” said Michael Petit, President of Every Child Matters. “Economic recovery is about jobs, but it is also about families. Protecting vital jobs in the health, education, and safety of children at the state level should be a high priority. Further investments in children’s programs will put people to work and benefit children and our economy in the long-run.”
To highlight the effects of the recession on children and families, NACCRRA, Every Child Matters, and other children’s organizations will release a report showing an illustrative list of state-by-state budget cuts affecting children in the coming weeks. For a preview of what the report will entail, visit the Economic Stimulus Briefing Room for a one-page overview of select findings and select stories from parents about the effect of the recession on their families.
The Every Child Matters Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan organization working to make children, youth and families a national political priority. We promote the adoption of smart policies for children and youth, including: ensuring that children have access to affordable, comprehensive health care services; expanding early-care and learning opportunities and after-school programs; preventing violence against children in their homes and communities; alleviating child poverty; and addressing the special needs of children with parents in prison. For more information, visit www.everychildmatters.org.