Excerpted from NC Child; November 12, 2014.
A new report released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation highlights the need to take a family-centered, two-generation approach to lifting children out of poverty. The KIDS COUNT® policy report, Creating Opportunity for Families: A Two-Generation Approach, makes the case that public policymakers and the private sector must address the interrelated needs of parents and children to ensure their future success. The report shows that parents need tools and support to overcome obstacles like child care, housing and the stress of managing a family with insufficient resources. In North Carolina, 50% of all families with young children are low-income. [In Durham, nearly 30% of children birth to 5 live in poverty].
“Children excel when they live in economically secure families with parents that have the support of a network of community resources,” stated Michelle Hughes, executive director of NC Child. “And thriving children result in a workforce that has the skills and education to compete in a global economy.”
One of the primary challenges facing low-income families is finding safe, affordable child care that is flexible enough to accommodate unpredictable service industry employment. A lack of reliable child care can mean fewer hours or even a lost job, which has a negative impact on the family and economy.
As a result of a provision in the most recent state budget, fewer children are eligible for child care subsidies, particularly in the 6-12 age group. As a result of this change, many parents have to make difficult decisions about keeping their jobs or staying home to care for their children. According to a recent survey, 18% of North Carolina parents reported that childcare issues impacted their ability to work.
The report also highlights paid family and sick leave as a policy that can be adopted by public officials and business owners to allow parents to care for their children and themselves without losing income or even their jobs. It also focuses on the impact of excessive stress levels for parents and children and how to provide caregivers with the support they need to be loving, nurturing parents, even during difficult circumstances. To raise healthy children, parents must have the opportunity to take care of their own emotional, mental and physical health.
For more information about NC Child, please click here.
To read the full report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, please click here.