To the Editor:
The research group Child Trends’ latest study on child poverty, cited in your article, affirms what we’ve long known: Investments in the social safety net can pay dividends for families. While the findings are promising, we can’t forget: The child poverty rate is still too high.
Families are still struggling, even those living above the poverty line. Parent income continues to be too strong a predictor for child outcomes ranging from early literacy and health to college attendance rates. If we want to give children the best opportunity for their futures, we need to make sure their parents are doing more than just scraping by.
To build on the progress we’ve seen, we must look at long-term solutions to help families not only meet their basic needs, but also achieve their biggest goals. In addition to the need for deeper cash assistance, our work at EMPath has shown us that families desire individualized support on how to leverage additional resources to move themselves forward.
It’s an important combination to help families thrive and, ultimately, have an incredible effect on children’s lives.
The writer, a former mayor of Boston, is president and C.E.O. of Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath), a national nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of people living in poverty.
This letter-to-the-editor also appeared in the print edition of The New York Times on September 22, 2022.