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More Evidence Suggests Tackling Child Poverty Best Thing to Do for Our Kids

Posted by Elena Hernandez at Jul 31, 2014 04:40 PM |
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Elena Hernandez - A recurring theme is emerging – high poverty rates and declining family economic security are hurting Washington state’s kids and our economy. A new report from Child Trends is the third report in one month highlighting the importance of tackling systemic child poverty (see our post on the 2014 KIDS COUNT Data Book and the 2014 Opportunity Scorecard).

Today’s report provides new state-level data illustrating the prevalence of eight adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) – particularly stressful events that are strongly linked to negative outcomes later in life, such as obesity, alcoholism, and depression.

Economic hardship is the most common adverse childhood experience in Washington state, a consistent finding across all states. One out of every 4 kids have gone through repeated periods where their family found it difficult to cover costs of even the most basic needs like food or housing.  

When a quarter of our kids experience economic hardship during their childhood we cannot achieve our full potential as a state.  Developing a strategic and targeted approach to reducing poverty and removing barriers to opportunity should be a top state priority. 

Other highlights from the Washington state–specific data include:

  • Over one-third (36 percent) of children experienced one or two adverse childhood experiences at some point from birth to age 17. The more ACEs a child experiences, the more likely they are to experience negative outcomes in the future.
  • Nine percent of kids are either the victim of violence or witness violence in their neighborhoods.
  • One out of every five children (21 percent) lives with a parent or guardian that is either separated or has gone through a divorce.
  • Twelve percent of children live in a home where someone struggles with alcohol or drugs or suffers from mental illness.  In fact the prevalence of mental health related ACEs in Washington state is among the highest in the country.

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HIGHLIGHTS

Watch the Poverty Forum Video

If you missed the half-day Poverty Forum that we co-hosted with Partners for Our Children in May 2016, you can watch it on YouTube now. It features a range of speakers and panelists talking about policy solutions for addressing income inequality and poverty in our state.

We're Hiring!

Come join our fun, hard-wording team of people who are passionate about social and economic justice! We're seeking a Betty Jane Narver Policy Fellow and a Policy Analyst/Senior Policy Analyst

Our Legislative Agenda

Our agenda for the 2015-2017 biennium calls for an equitable, sustainable revenue system in addition to state investments that: promote a world-class education system; sustain a strong middle class; produce living-wage jobs, and ensure that all Washingtonians have equal opportunity to get ahead. 

Testimonies in Olympia

We testified in support of a number of important bills during the 2016 legislative session. Take a look:

  • Our testimony (at the 23:23 minute mark) on the House Bill that would take a two-generation approach to preventing poverty 
  • Our testimony (at the 1:54:09 mark) on the House bill focused on aerospace-related tax breaks
  • Our House testimony (at the 9:25 mark) and Senate testimony (at the 1:44:54 mark) on the two-generation approach to poverty prevention bill 

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