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Ending Child Poverty

Trustworthy Websites to Know What You Can Do to Help Change Child Poverty

Children's Defense Fund's Statement of Purpose:
The Child & Family WebGuide describes trustworthy websites on topics of interest to parents and professionals. All the sites listed on the WebGuide have been systematically evaluated by graduate students and faculty in child development at Tuft University. These sites have been selected from thousands that are available on the Web, based primarily on the quality of the information they provide. The goal of the WebGuide is to give the public easy access to the best child development information on the Web.

More than 15 million children in America are poor, but they live in working families. A disproportionate number are Black and Latino. Poor children lag behind their peers in many ways beyond income: They are less healthy, trail in emotional and intellectual development, and are less likely to graduate from high school. Poor children also are likely to become the poor parents of the future. Every year that we keep children in poverty costs our nation half a trillion dollars in lost productivity, poorer health and increased crime.
Our vision is to end child poverty. We must invest in high quality education for every child, livable wages for families, income safety nets like job training and job creation, the Earned Income and Child Tax Credits, and work supports like child care and health coverage. We also work with partners to educate families about benefits for which they are eligible.

Data on Child Poverty
CDF’s new report, The State of America's Children® 2011, a compilation of the most recent and reliable national and state-by-state data on key child indicators, including child poverty. The Child Poverty section of the report includes state data on the number and percentage of children living in poverty and extreme poverty and the child poverty breakdown by race/ethnicity and geography. This section of the report also includes poverty trends among children over the past 50 years and poverty rates of children in young families by the educational attainment of the family householder. A total of 15.5 million children—or one in every five children in America—lived in poverty in 2009, an increase of nearly four million children since 2000 and the largest single year increase since the data was first collected.
Carsey Institute Report on Child Poverty 
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey Institute have released a report which details the demographic breakdowns of child poverty in America. The report finds that young children of color in rural areas or single parent families are the most vulnerable to the effects of poverty. Read the full report here.

New FRAC Survey Shows Households With Children Struggle to Afford Food
The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) recently released findings from a survey which paint a clear portrait of the struggle faced by many families to afford food for their children. The survey found that in 2009, nearly one in four households with children struggled to afford the food they needed.  Nationally, nearly one in five Americans (18.5 percent) has lacked the money to buy the food they needed at some point in the last year.  To read the full report, click here. Food Hardship: pdf document

Access to nutritious food is a matter of social justice. As CDF President Marian Wright Edelman noted in her recent Child Watch® column Urban Food Deserts Threaten Children’s Health, failing to ensure our children receive better nutrition will cost our nation dearly.   Ensuring children and adults access to nutritious food is one obvious step we must take as legislators struggle to reform our nation's health care system and contain its skyrocketing costs.
For more research on food insecurity in the United States, see the 2008 USDA report Household Food Security in the United States, or The Public Health Effects of Food Deserts Workshop Summary - from the National Academy of Sciences.
Investing in Early Childhood to Reduce Child Poverty
Every 34 seconds, a child is born poor in America. Poverty can disrupt children's development and negatively impact their educational advancement, their ability to lead productive lives and become responsible citizens. And yet millions of young children feel the effects of poverty every day. Find out more about the effects of poverty on young children -  and how you can lend your voice for America's most vulnerable.

Billions Lost to Predatory Commercial Tax Preparers
A new CDF report, "Avoiding the Pitfalls of Refund Anticipation Loans," finds that in tax year 2006, low-income families lost $3.1 billion of their Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) benefits to high-interest, short-term loans, tax preparation fees and other financial products issued by commercial tax preparers. The EITC, is a refundable federal tax credit for low- and modest-income workers, is one of the most effective tools for lifting families out of poverty. The report also provides city, county and state breakdowns of dollars lost to predatory tax preparers and provides ways individuals, communities and policy makers can take action to lift children out of poverty by helping their working families keep more of the benefits they’ve earned.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Child Poverty Resources Available in Your State and Community
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama helps alleviate the stress on families and communities by investing in improvements for a range of needed services and supports, including those services that will help children in poverty.  Learn what is available in your state and community and how to use these funds to invest in child poverty by visiting the Child Support Enforcement, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Unemployment Assistance and Workforce Development - sections of our guide, The New Economic Recovery Law: Resources to Help Children and the Economy.
Fact Sheet: Child Poverty in America
Learn more about child poverty in America with this primer that provides information on the definition of poverty; basic facts about child poverty; how poverty affects children's health, food security, early development, home and family environment, education, and crime; the economic and social costs of child poverty; and public programs that combat child poverty.


Creating a level playing field for all children is a mission that CDF cannot accomplish alone. We often work with or refer people to many other organizations nationwide who are working to improve the lives of children. A list of some of them is below.

  • Californians for Justice - Californians for Justice is a statewide grassroots organization working for racial justice by building the power of communities that have been pushed to the margins of the political process. They organize youth, immigrants, low-income people and communities of color in order to improve their social, economic and political conditions.
  • Center for American Progress - The Center for American Progress is a think tank dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through ideas and action. They combine bold policy ideas with a modern communications platform to help shape the national debate, expose the hollowness of conservative governing philosophy, and challenge the media to cover the issues that truly matter.
  • Center for Budget and Policy Priorities -The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is nonpartisan research organization and policy institute that works at the federal and state levels on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income families and individuals.
  • Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) - The Center for Law and Social Policy is a national nonprofit that works to improve the lives of low-income people. CLASP’s mission is to improve the economic security, educational and workforce prospects, and family stability of low-income parents, children, and youth and to secure equal justice for all.
  • Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP)  - For more than twenty years, the Center for Public Policy Priorities has been a nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization committed to improving public policies and private practices to better the economic and social conditions of low- and moderate-income Texans. The Center's work is divided into workforce and economic development; access to public benefits, including health care, food, and cash assistance; child protection; school finance; state and federal tax and budget analysis; and family economic security. CPPP is also the Texas home to KIDS COUNT, a state-by-state effort to track and promote the well-being of children. CPPP also chairs and directs the Texas CHIP Coalition.
  • Coalition on Human Needs (CHN) - CHN is an alliance of national organizations that work together to promote public policies which address the needs of low-income and other vulnerable populations. The Coalition's members include civil rights, religious, labor and professional organizations and those concerned with the well being of children, women, the elderly and people with disabilities.
  • Coleman Center for Children and Youth   - Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth works to improve the lives of San Francisco’s children, youth, and families for over 30 years.They are a successfull a member-driven, community-based organization of working families, youth, advocates and service providers.
  • Future of Children  - The Future of Children is a journal published twice a year with timely research on children for policymakers, service providers, and researchers.
  • Harlem Children's Zone - Harlem Children's Zone is America's most ambitious effort to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. Under the visionary leadership of its President and CEO, Geoffrey Canada, HCZ offers innovative, efficiently run programs that are aimed at doing nothing less than breaking the cycle of generational poverty for the thousands of children and families it serves. HCZ efforts aim to give poor children the stimulation and the opportunities that most kids growing up in middle-class neighborhoods receive from birth.
  • Immigration Policy Center (IPC) - The IPC provides policymakers, academics, the media, and the general public with access to accurate information about the effects of immigration on the U.S. economy and society.
  • Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies - The Joint Center's research focuses on issues of particular concern to African Americans and other people of color, and informs and educates policymakers and advocates to influence public opinion and national policy.
  • Leadership Conference on Civil Rights - LCCR consists of more than 192 national organizations and advocates to promote the enactment and enforcement of effective civil rights legislaiton and policy.
  • National Alliance to End Homelessness 

Homelessness occurs when people or households are unable to acquire and/or maintain housing they can afford.

  • 643,067 people experiencing homelessness on any given night in the United States
  • Of that number, 238,110 are people in families, and 404,957 are individuals
  • 17 percent of the homeless population is considered "chronically homeless," and
  • 12 percent of the homeless population - 67,000 - are veterans.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonpartisan, mission-driven organization committed to preventing and ending homelessness in the United States. The Alliance analyzes policy and develops pragmatic, cost-effective policy solutions. They work collaboratively with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to build state and local capacity, leading to stronger programs and policies that help homeless individuals and families make positive changes in their lives.

  • National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) -NCCP promotes the economic security, health, and well-being of America’s low-income families and children. NCCP uses research to inform policy and practice with the goal of ensuring positive outcomes for the next generation.
  • National Council of La RazaThe National Council of La Raza is the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States. Through its network of nearly 300 affiliated community-based organizations (CBOs), NCLR reaches millions of Hispanics each year in 41 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. To achieve its mission, NCLR conducts applied research, policy analysis, and advocacy, providing a Latino perspective in five key areas – assets/investments, civil rights/immigration, education, employment and economic status, and health. In addition, it provides capacity-building assistance to its Affiliates who work at the state and local level to advance opportunities for individuals and families.
  • National Network for Youth - The National Network for Youth is committed to ensuring that opportunities for growth and development be available to youth everywhere. The youth they work with face greater odds due to abuse and neglect, homelessness, lack of resources, community prejudice, differing abilities and other life challenges. For that reason, they are working to create a community of agencies, people and resources to champion the needs of the youth of today and the leaders of tomorrow.
  • National Partnership for Women & Families - The National Partnership advocates for fairness in the workplace, quality health care, and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family
  • National Urban League - The Urban League is the nation's oldest and largest community-based movement devoted to empowering African Americans to enter the economic and social mainstream.
  • National Women's Law Center - The Center focuses on making the law an public policies work for women and their families - particularly around education, employment, family economic security and health.
  • New America Foundation - The New America Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States.
  • One Voice - One Voice supports the need for strong prevention and early intervention programs, and the ability to maximize federal funding for health and human service programs in Texas, so that we can "Keep Texas dollars working in Texas."
  • Opportunity Agenda - The Opportunity Agenda partners with advocates, researchers, and policymakers to ensure that all people have access to a good education, a decent job at a living wage, an affordable place to live, and high quality health care.
  • Para Los Niños - Para Los Ninos is a nonproft family resource organization designed to bring children from some of Los Angeles' most challenging communities out of poverty and on to brighter more successful futures.
  • Pew Charitable Trusts - The Pew Trust funds programs and releases publications to advance policy soultions on a wide array of problems, including the foster care system, access to preschool, family financial security, and health care.
  • Public Welfare Foundation - The Public Welfare Foundation supports efforts to ensure fundamental rights and opportunities for people in need. They look for carefully defined points where funds can make a difference in bringing about systemic changes that can improve the lives of countless people.
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Reclaiming Futures - Reclaiming Futures helps young people in trouble with drugs, alcohol, and crime. In 2001, with a $21 million investment from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 10 founding communities located throughout the United States began reinventing the way police, courts, detention facilities, treatment providers, and the community work together to meet this urgent need.
  • Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity - Spotlight is a non-partisan forum on poverty, raising awareness and presenting ideas as solutions for reducign poverty and increasing economic opportunity through its research, online newsletter and policy events.
  • Texans Care for Children - Texans Care for Children works to improve the lives of Texas children by building commitment and action for improved public policy and programs. Their issues include: child poverty and family economic security; child and maternal health; children’s mental health; early care and education; child welfare; and at-risk youth and juvenile justice.
  • The Center for Young Women's Development (CYWD) - The Center for Young Women's Development is one of the first non-profits in the United States run and led entirely by young women. From the beginning, they have organized young women who were the most marginalized in San Francisco—those in the street economies and the juvenile justice system—to design and deliver peer-to-peer education and support.
  • The National Immigration Law Center (NILC) - The National Immigration Law Center protects and promotes the rights and opportunities of low-income immigrants and their family members. NILC staff specialize in immigration law and the employment and public benefits rights of immigrants.
  • Urban Institute - The Urban Institute gathers data, conducts research, evaluates programs, offers technical assistance overseas, and educates Americans on social and economic issues — to foster sound public policy and effective government.
  • Youth Justice Coalition/Free L.A. - Youth Justice Coalitions is led by people most affected by the criminalization of young people, poor people, communities of color and immigrants.