Schmudget Blog

Intergenerational Poverty Bill Would Help Lift Children and their Parents Out of Poverty

Posted by Melinda Young-Flynn at Feb 01, 2017 10:50 AM |

By Julie Watts, deputy director

Children can reach their full potential when their whole family has economic security. That is the fundamental principle underlying intergenerational approaches to addressing child poverty.


This session, state policymakers have an opportunity to lift significant numbers of Washingtonians out of poverty by passing a bill that focuses on improving the well-being of children and their families. House Bill 1482/Senate Bill 5440 would create an intergenerational, results-focused, evidence-based effort to improve the well-being of future generations.

Click on graphic to see enlarged version.

2gen_gears

Far too many children in Washington state are growing up in poverty and households that are financially struggling. They don’t have enough to eat, a consistent place to sleep, or access to a doctor when they are sick or dentist when they have a cavity. Research shows that children who grow up with this kind of economic hardship are at greater risk of experiencing levels of toxic stress so severe it can affect them throughout their lifetime. Such stress impacts their emotional development, their future academic achievement, and the chances they will raise their own children in economic hardship as well.

Intergenerational  approaches (also called two-generation approaches) to address poverty focus on supporting parents and children together – rather than supporting them in silos – to help them move out of poverty permanently. They coordinate support for families across five key areas: high-quality early childhood education; higher education and career pathways; asset building; health and well-being; and social capital.

HB 1482 and SB 5440 would:

  • Expand the scope of a state legislative-executive task force on WorkFirst (Washington’s temporary cash assistance program that helps families struggling to make ends meet get back on their feet) to include poverty reduction and to focus on the underlying causes of intergenerational poverty.
  • Establish a key goal of the task force to reduce the number of people living below 200 percent of the federal poverty line by 50 percent by 2025 in a way that eliminates disparities by race, ethnicity, sex, gender, zip code, immigration status, age, household type, disability status, and more.
  • Require the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) to develop a five- and 10-year plan to reduce poverty.
  • Require DSHS to gather and track relevant national, state, and local data related to poverty and track progress toward poverty reduction goals.

Children are more likely to thrive when their parents are thriving. These bills can help lay the foundation for dramatic poverty reduction in our state so all of Washington’s kids can reach their full potential.

Document Actions
HIGHLIGHTS

Policy Summit You're InvitedSign Up and Save the Date!

We will host two Budget Matters policy summits this year – one in Spokane on October 31 (register now) and one in Seattle on December 6 (registration coming soon)! The Spokane summit, featuring Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, will focus on the impact of federal and state policy decisions on eastern Washington communities. The Seattle summit, featuring Glenn Harris of Race Forward, will examine what it would take to lift up everyone to advance progress in our state. Find out more.

Our Policy Priorities

Washington state should be a place where all our residents have strong communities, great schools, and the chance for a bright future. Our 2017-2019 Legislative Agenda outlines the priorities we are working to advance to build a better Washington.

Budget Beat!

Check out the Budget Beat webinars we hosted throughout the 2017 legislative session, including our most recent Budget Beat about federal budget proposals, featuring Louisa Warren of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, on our YouTube channel

Testimonies in Olympia

To advance our legislative priorities, the Budget & Policy Center team was in the state capitol throughout session testifying on a wide range of bills. Watch our testimonies on TVW:
Misha TVW