We call on President Obama and Congress to take immediate action to invest in America’s children by
· Passing the Strong Start for America’s Children Act to fund early childhood education
· Preserving critical safety net programs: SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, and CHIP (the Children’s Health Insurance Program)
More than 1 in 5 children in America live in poverty. That’s 16 million children who cannot count on the basic necessities they need to succeed in life.
Every day, in the most prosperous nation in the world, millions of children face hunger, lack of access to medical care, and insufficient educational opportunities. Poverty can impede a child’s ability to learn and contribute to behavioral problems as well as poor physical and mental health.
If children do not get the support they need early on – when their bodies and minds are developing – they can struggle in school, suffer long-term health problems, and be set back for their entire lives.
This is not just a just a misfortune for the individual child, it undermines the productivity and prosperity of our entire nation.
Child poverty costs our country $500 billion annually in lost productivity, health care costs, and criminal justice expenses for increased crime.
Despite the clear benefits of investing in kids, the sequestration cuts of 2013 slashed funding to children’s programs by $4.2 billion. Even though children make up 25 percent of the population, they currently receive only 10 percent of federal spending, and that figure is expected to drop to 8 percent over the next decade.
America cannot afford this. And Americans do not want this. Recent polling shows that 72 percent of Americans prioritize protecting investments in children equally or more than reducing the federal deficit.
Today, as Congress and the White House negotiate over the federal budget, it is critical that Americans speak out to protect critical safety net programs that help lift kids out of poverty and keep them out, so they can go on to lead productive lives that benefit our entire society.
These safety net programs include: SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, and CHIP (the Children’s Health Insurance Program)
At the same time, it is vital that all children – regardless of their family’s ability to pay – have access to early childhood education. The Strong Start for America’s Children legislation, introduced in late 2013, would help make quality preschool available to every child in America
Every day that passes without coordinated strategic investment in children imperils our future. Kids can’t wait and neither can the nation. Our most precious natural resources – America’s children – have been neglected for far too long. Now is the time to tell our leaders that we need them to invest in the health, education and wellbeing of kids.
Sign our petition and help protect America’s children – and America’s future!
To learn more about critical policies for America’s children, visit http://www.childrenshealthfund.org/advocacy-and-research/policy-priorities