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Both Parties Seen Missing Mark on Childhood Poverty

With the Democratic National Convention kicking off today, advocates say both political parties are ignoring a major problem in New Hampshire and the nation: that of childhood poverty. (Qqqqqq via wiki)
With the Democratic National Convention kicking off today, advocates say both political parties are ignoring a major problem in New Hampshire and the nation: that of childhood poverty. (Qqqqqq via wiki)
July 25, 2016

CONCORD, N.H. – The Democratic National Convention kicks off today and advocates are concerned, because they say both parties are missing out on addressing a major problem in New Hampshire and the nation – child poverty.

Amy Ireland Bourgault, director of New Hampshire Kids Count, says even as the state recovers from the recession, tens of thousands of local children are growing up in families that have to cope with poverty on a daily basis.

"You know, we have 34,000 families in poverty, 42,000 children are food insecure and 64 percent of families that live here have to choose between food and meds,” she points out. “I think it needs the attention it deserves."

Bergault says child poverty and hunger go hand in hand and that's why her group has been very active in the statewide effort, the Hunger Solutions Coalition.

Nationwide about 20 percent of American children are living in poverty.

Bruce Lesley, president of the children's advocacy organization First Focus, says child poverty might get more attention if the children impacted were able to vote.

"If they would engage in the conversation, I think they would find a very receptive audience among the public, but because kids don't vote, they don't have PACs, they're not donating to campaigns, they're not on top of mind, and so it's a huge problem that we face," he states.

Julia Isaacs, a senior fellow with the Urban Institute, says adults and seniors are better off than the nation's children when it comes to rates of poverty.

"It's that combination of factors – the long-term effects on kids, the fact that we are a wealthy nation, and the fact that poverty rates are lower for other ages is why it does seem like we could do more to reduce poverty among children," Isaacs says.


Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH