(Photo via philadelphiafutures.org)
Growing up in poverty means more than just not having enough money to afford nice things.
Poverty creates long-term behavioral and cognitive issues for children. There’s a generational cap on social mobility for impoverished families who grow up in poverty — they’re more likely to drop out of school and their kids are more likely to drop out of school. Food options are limited for children living in poverty, increasing obesity risks and diseases like diabetes.
When considering childhood poverty, Philadelphia is the worst offender.
“A staggering 37 percent of children live in poverty in Philadelphia, which is the highest level among the nation’s 10 largest cities,” said Frazierita Klasen, senior director of the Pew Fund for Health and Human Services, in a release.
Pew Charitable Trusts just announced it will be issuing $8,588,000 over the next three years to 45 programs and services in Philadelphia improving the lives of children and families living in poverty.
“These young people are at serious risk of lagging behind in language, cognitive, and social-emotional development,” Klasen said. “Pew is pleased to partner with local agencies that are helping to improve the lives of these vulnerable children and their families.”
Those local agencies are working in five critical problem areas Pew has identified as most pertinent.
1. Early child care and education.
Pew’s goal here is to increase the number of programs reaching good or high-quality state standards, or that “reflect best practices” in improving language, math, and social and emotional skills.
2. Prevention of long-term behavioral and academic problems.
Pew wants to help at-risk youth develop skills like cognition and literacy by supporting agencies that make these services accessible.
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3. Behavioral health services for vulnerable children.
The organizations that received funding for this goal are already implementing effective approaches to providing impoverished children and families with these services.
4. Out-of-school educational programs.
Pew provided grants to educational organizations that are providing youth with high-quality out-of-school programs, from achievement to college success. That includes Philadelphia Futures, which secured the highest grant out of all 45 awardees with $285,000.
5. Access to public benefits and social services.
Four organizations received grants for this last issue area, including agencies providing legal services (Community Legal Services, Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania) and health services (Public Citizens for Children and Youth, Public Health Management Corporation).-30-
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