The Policy Response to the Social Problem: Child Poverty


Within the past decade Child poverty has been increasing, and has become a major social concern in the United States. U.S. Census Bureau for 2010 showed that the number of children in poverty increased by 950,000 between 2009 and 2010, rising from 15.5 million to 16.4 million, which means that over one in five children in America are in poverty. Children growing up in poverty are at higher risk of poor health, socio-emotional problems, impaired cognitive development, and low educational attainment. As adults, it puts them at risk of low earnings, poor health, and engaging in criminal activity (Duncan & Brooks-Gunn, 1997; Holzer, Schanzenbach, Duncan, & Ludwig, 2007). According to the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) “nearly 15 million children in the United States, 21% of all children live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level $22,050 a year for a family of four.   Research shows that, on average, families need an income of about twice that level to cover basic expenses. Using this standard, 42% of children live in low-income families.” It is clear that poverty is a great threat to children’s well-being.   The only way to improve this condition is by implementing effective social welfare policies that have an impact on low income parents and create programs that can provide parents with educational benefits, financial benefits, nutritional benefits (food stamps), employment with living wages and child care assistance, so that parents could provide a better environment for their children.

One of the policies that have been enacted to address the problem of child poverty is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).   EITC is a refundable federal tax credit for low and moderate income working families and is currently the largest cash assistance program targeted at low-income families with children (US Government Accountability Office, [USGAO], 2005). The EITC intends to reduce poverty by increasing the earnings...