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Holistic Approach to Reduce Generational Poverty in MD

PHOTO: A more holistic approach is needed to reduce child poverty in Maryland, according to a new Annie E. Casey Foundation report that recommends focusing on the whole family. Photo credit: Towbar/Pixabay
PHOTO: A more holistic approach is needed to reduce child poverty in Maryland, according to a new Annie E. Casey Foundation report that recommends focusing on the whole family. Photo credit: Towbar/Pixabay
November 12, 2014

BALTIMORE - Children who grow up in low-income families tend to become low-income adults, so breaking the poverty cycle needs a more holistic approach.

A report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation released today makes that case and recommends focusing on high-quality and affordable early childhood education, while simultaneously providing parents access to job training and tools for career advancement.

Nonso Umunna, research director at Advocates for Children and Youth in Baltimore, says there are 128,000 low-income households with children in Maryland.

"These are families that are really hard-working," says Umunna. "They have to do about two jobs, three jobs, sometimes four and that has an impact on their children."

He says the state's plan to phase-in minimum wage increases will help, but an entire-family approach is still needed. Examples include flexibility at work, access to high-quality, affordable child care, boosting the Child Tax Credit for low-income parents of young children, and expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Patrice Cromwell, director of strategic initiatives at the Casey Foundation, says the goal is to break the cycle of poverty by strengthening families.

"Supporting parents in their ability to get and keep a job and be a strong parent," says Cromwell. "The same time as supporting kids to get a good start early in learning, as well as a good start in school."

She adds, solutions should use existing public, nonprofit and private programs, but establish better coordination between those programs.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MD