Rochester, N.Y. – New York state could soon be engaging in a new push to help reduce child poverty.
The Childhood Poverty Reduction Act has passed both houses in the State Assembly and is awaiting the governor’s signature.
The measure officially creates a public commitment for the state to reduce child poverty by 50% over the next decade. It will also establish a Child Poverty Reduction Advisory Council that will develop plans, assess policies and send out annual progress reports. That council will also examine structural racism and determine sources of inequity that result in poverty.
Lawmakers and child poverty advocates in our area say this is important legislation. Prior to the pandemic, more than 700,000 children in New York lived in poverty. By July 2020, that number increased by nearly 325,000. In Monroe County alone, 10,000 more children have fallen into poverty amid COVID-19.
“Our local bipartisan delegation supported this legislation,” said Assemblyman Harry Bronson (D, NY-138), who helped sponsor the bill, “and I think because they truly recognized the vision of this legislation, and that is that we can end poverty – but we have to start in a place where we put a plan together, we put a strategy together, we put goals in front of us and we have benchmarks toward those goals.”
He says poverty can have long-term effects on children, ranging from health issues to academic challenges.
“We’ve got to do better than this,” said Bronson. “We’ve got to address poverty head-on. We’ve got to turn this around so that no child has to face the impact of poverty.”
Bronson says the state commitment to reduce poverty outlined in the legislation is the first of its kind in the United States.
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