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Poverty in NM, Nation Requires a "Two-Generation Approach"

PHOTO: Working with parents and children together, rather than separately, may help advance efforts to end the cycle of poverty in New Mexico and across the U.S., is the finding of a new report. Photo courtesy of City of Albuquerque.
PHOTO: Working with parents and children together, rather than separately, may help advance efforts to end the cycle of poverty in New Mexico and across the U.S., is the finding of a new report. Photo courtesy of City of Albuquerque.
November 12, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Efforts to end the cycle of poverty in New Mexico may advance if policymakers focus on a two-generation approach that involves parents and children. That's the finding of a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, on creating opportunity for families.

Veronica Garcia, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, says working with children and parents together may provide more long-term benefit than working with them individually.

"It brings intentionality to the work, that recognizes you have to link services and programs to the family unit," Garcia says.

The report finds 103,000 New Mexico children ages five and under are growing up in low-income families and a child raised in poverty is more likely to become an adult living in poverty, less likely to graduate from high school or remain consistently employed.

While New Mexico's economy continues to recover, Garcia says the state has yet to restore funding for some of the programs that provide opportunities for young families to get ahead.

"One example would be childcare assistance at one time was given at 200 percent of the federal poverty level, which is around $24,000 a year for a family of four," says Garcia. "That has now been reduced to 150 percent of the federal poverty level."

Garcia adds, New Mexico's economy can also benefit from the two-generation approach, since parents will likely miss less work if they have access to quality child care.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NM