And How are the Children..?

Pre[K]now Commentary: Children in Poverty

Posted on: February 12, 2010

Report: 20 percent of Illinois children living below poverty level.

I receive a daily report from Pre[K]now called Pre-K News clips. Here are some thoughts on one that I found most interesting today…

National child poverty rates are expected to continue rising for several years after the economy begins to recover, reaching 24 percent in 2012, higher than at any time since the early 1960s.

– From Children and Families in a Time of Economic Crisis,” Voices for Illinois Children, 2010, via “Report: 20 percent of Illinois children living below poverty level”

A few questions…

Who comprises the work force of the future?

Who will be the ones responsible for operating the mechanisms of society in 20 years?

Who will be the ones that defend and protect us as time goes on?

If you feel comfortable that your children will be fine, what about the thousands of other children growing up with them, people that they will live with and encounter as their lives develop?

If the number of children being born in the country is increasing, do you want the majority of those children to become adults who feel invested as members of society, or would you rather they felt disenfranchised, with no sense of loyalty or investment?

As citizens, as civilized people, and for purely selfish reasons, we need to take a long, hard look at how we are handling the children and families that are experiencing poverty in this country.  Blaming then entire group, branding them as lazy is unreasonable.  Expecting such families to all pull themselves up by the bootstraps is unfair, and assumes that they are living in poverty because they aren’t trying hard enough.  I do not mean to say that individuals cannot overcome poverty – people can be highly resilient and resourceful.  But the “bootstraps approach” does not acknowledge that there are systems that perpetuate poverty, in addition to individual choices.

Does the notion of rugged individualism serve us well as a society? I say we should be helping each other, and that helping each other should be a priority. Even in these times of recession, we waste so much.

When we improve the futures of people living in poverty, we improve the future for our own lives, our own children and families. Because we all have to live together.

Check out this article, via, about the new report from Illinois’ own advocacy organization, Voices for Illinois Children.


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