Children growing up in poverty face horrible lifelong consequences to their health, education, and overall quality of life. Compared with cities its size, Rochester ranks as the number one worst city in the United States for child poverty, with 52.5% of our city’s children in poverty. We are first in the nation in the rate of extreme poverty, with 16.4% of the city’s population below half the federal poverty standard.
Congress ordered and funded the largest, most exhaustive, and most nonpartisan, evidence-based report on how to reduce childhood poverty in half. The 2019 report released by the National Academy of Sciences estimates that child poverty costs us $800 billion to $1.1 trillion every year due to increased crime, worsened health, and lower earnings when poor kids become adults.
But the report concluded that a suite of two-generation-at-once public policy changes would cut child poverty in half in 10 years:
Along with assistance for high quality early child care and education, we already know what works. What’s missing is the political will to make it happen. That’s where The Children’s Agenda comes in.
Expand benefit levels and eligibility guidelines for the Empire Child Tax Credit (to include children under 4), the Earned Income Tax Credit (to including childless adults, adults 25 and under, and increasing the state's add-on), and New York State Child Care Tax Credit.