In my previous blog post, an article titled, “‘Crack baby’ study ends with unexpected but clear result“, was shared. The results of a 25 year study of ‘crack babies’ found that outcomes were influenced more by poverty than they were by exposure in utero to cocaine. Given that billions have been spent on a ‘war on drugs’, it is compelling that the bigger challenge, at least when it comes to outcomes for children, is poverty.
There are many things we could be doing to support vulnerable populations who are living or at risk of living in poverty. My “Top 10 list” is as follows:
1) Raise minimum wages so that parents can earn enough to adequately provide for their children.
2) Demand corporate responsibility when it comes to paying employees a ‘living wage’. Boycott companies that do not pay employees responsibly and let them know this is unacceptable.
3) Support businesses that offer family supports such as in-house daycare, paid leave for new parents, leave-sharing (for employees faced with extended medical or family leave not covered under their benefit package), and other employee assistance programs.
4) Fund supportive programs such as TANF, WIC, and school lunch programs that provide valuable assistance to struggling families. [I feel compelled to mention here, that the US House of Representatives recently passed a farm bill which supports corporate farmers while intentionally leaving out food stamps, a critical program supporting vulnerable children.]
5) Elect political representatives who support poverty reducing programs.
6) Ensure all children have access to HIGH QUALITY medical and health care.
7) Ensure all children have access to HIGH QUALITY education.
8) Ensure all adults have access to HIGH QUALITY education. This includes GED programs, vocational training, and college educations. Parents who are well-educated are more likely to be able to financially support their families.
9) Ensure all families have access to safe, secure housing and healthy neighborhoods.
10) Offer to mentor persons who may be struggling to become financially secure; in your workplace, in your neighborhood, and in your larger community.
There are, no doubt, many more things individuals, groups, and communities can do to address poverty. I invite you to add your ideas!