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Children who attend good early education programs are more likely to stay in school and have strong education outcomes. We must ensure these programs thrive.

The evidence is strong. Pre-school and early education matters, and quality matters. Several studies that have followed kids over multiple years show that children who show up to kindergarten underprepared have a lower rate of success academically.

High-quality early childhood education for kids from low-income families show a 7:1 benefit-to-cost ratio, meaning every dollar invested saves $7 in future costs.

The benefits of early intervention can be tremendous. Studies have shown a return on investment ranging from 3:1 to 17:1. Every dollar spent has a very healthy return. If we want to reduce child poverty and poverty in general, education is the key to breaking the cycle. On average, high-quality early childhood education for kids from low-income families show a 7:1 benefit-to-cost ratio, meaning every dollar invested saves $7 in future costs.


The solution to this problem is complicated, but it starts with funding at the state and national levels for quality early interventions including pre-school, home-based childcare, training parents on providing early education, and in-home visits.


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The new rule proposed by Department of Homeland Security could have serious impacts on child poverty.

Child poverty continues to be an issue in the country, with over 17% of children living below the poverty line. The data shows that children in immigrant families are more likely to be in low-income status than american-born families. The new rule could disqualify immigrants (including legal immigrants) from getting their green card if they ever use public assistance programs for food, housing, healthcare, etc.

The proposed public charge rule would result in the effects of poverty being dramatically worse on immigrant kids, and it could have serious long-term impact on the nation.

It's important to note that there are two sides of the story, and everyone should review the different viewpoints available.


However, the fear and uncertainty created by the policy changes could lead to immigrant families disenrolling from important public programs that reduce child poverty. The proposed public charge rule would result in the effects of poverty being dramatically worse on immigrant kids, and it could have serious long-term impact on the nation. This could have very serious effects -- even as stated in the proposal for the rule change itself:


“Disenrollment or foregoing enrollment in public benefits program by aliens otherwise eligible for these programs could lead to:

  • Worse health outcomes, including increased prevalence of obesity and malnutrition, especially for pregnant or breastfeeding women, infants, or children, and reduced prescription adherence;

  • Increased use of emergency rooms and emergent care as a method of primary health care due to delayed treatment;

  • Increased prevalence of communicable diseases, including among members of the U.S. citizen population who are not vaccinated;

  • Increases in uncompensated care in which a treatment or service is not paid for by an insurer or patient; and

  • Increased rates of poverty and housing instability; and

  • Reduced productivity and educational attainment.”


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The latest report from the USDA shows that the statistics around food insecurity are improving. We need to ensure that the Farm Bill protects SNAP for families.

Food insecurity continues to be a challenge for families and children. However, the most recent data shows that we are making significant progress through a multi-faceted approach. 2017 saw the lowest rate of food insecurity, at 12%, in the country since the 15% peak in 2017. However, households with children are still disproportionately insecure, at 16%, about where their next meals are going to come from.

Congress has an opportunity to strengthen and protect SNAP as part of the farm bill that is currently being debated. The two houses passed very different bills, and the September conference will decide the final outcome.

Even more significantly, over 30% of households with children headed by a single woman experience hunger. That means that moms are regularly making the difficult choice of feeding their kids something while going hungry themselves.


The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a key part of lifting children and families out of poverty, and generally has bipartisan support. The program ensures that this lifeline exists for those families that are in need.


Congress has an opportunity to strengthen and protect SNAP as part of the farm bill that is currently being debated. The two houses passed very different bills, and the September conference will decide the final outcome. This program has a proven record of providing the fundamental backbone of what a child needs to succeed -- food -- and it has to be preserved if we are to continue making progress.


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Penn Harvest Hunger Relief, Inc.  A Non-profit Corporation

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