WASHINGTON, Sept. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Children's Leadership Council today decried the continued rise in the child poverty rate in the United States, calling it "unacceptable in America."
The federal Census Bureau released figures showing that child poverty rose from 20.7 percent in 2009 to 22 percent in 2010. The number of children living in poverty rose from 15.5 million in 2009 to 16.4 million in 2010. Child poverty is defined as the share of children under age 18 who live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level of approximately $23,000 for a family of four.
More than 3 million additional children have joined the ranks of the poor since 2000. Thirty-five percent of all the people in poverty are children, even though children are only 24 percent of the population.
"We are paying the price for child poverty today, and we will pay the price for decades to come," said CLC.
The alarming statistics were released as a Congressional "Super Committee" considers an additional $1.5 trillion in spending reductions, which could further cut services that families in poverty rely on for basic needs.
"The rising numbers of children living in poverty is a direct result of the choices made by political leaders who put billionaires before kids," said CLC. "America's children should be our top priority."
Federally funded services supported by CLC have proven to help alleviate hunger and homelessness, and enable children to succeed in school. Advocates for children and families are ramping up efforts this fall at rallies and Town Hall meetings across the country to persuade Super Committee members to protect essential services.
CLC called on the Super Committee members to include increased revenues to prevent the further erosion of investments in children. Their plan should also include job creation initiatives so that parents can work and lift their children out of poverty.
"The CLC wants to see significant revenues in the final package that the Super Committee produces. Children and families should not be the only ones to bear the brunt of deficit reduction. Those who value tax breaks for corporations and millionaires more than essential services for the less fortunate must not be permitted to control the agenda.
"The rising child poverty rate is an indictment of America. To have 22 percent of children living in poverty is unacceptable. We are marching in the wrong direction, and we cannot continue to cut essential services for children and families and remain a strong nation.
"The choices Congress makes over the next several months will define our values and establish our priorities as Americans. CLC believes that a true 'compromise' will balance significant revenue measures and spending reductions while protecting essential services for children and families.
"When we invest in children, we strengthen America."
ABOUT CHILDREN'S LEADERSHIP COUNCIL
The Children's Leadership Council (CLC) is a coalition of child advocates representing over 50 leading national policy and advocacy organizations who are working every day to improve the health, education, and well-being of children and youth in order to prepare them for school, work, and life. The CLC organizations have members in every state in the nation. The Children's Leadership Council believes investing in children and youth is investing in America. By making all of our children - from birth to young adulthood - a priority, we strengthen our country and secure everyone's future. A complete list of CLC members is available online at http://www.childrensleadershipcouncil.org.
SOURCE Children's Leadership Council