Authorized by Public Interest Alberta (780 420 0471)
If even one kid living in poverty is too many, what is 164,000 children?
In Alberta, 1 in 6 children live below the poverty line. This is unconscionable in such a wealthy country and province -- ending child poverty is a moral obligation for all of us.
The research shows us without a doubt that allowing any child to live in poverty has ripple effects. When children grow up in poverty, it affects their mental health, educational attainment, employment, and housing throughout their lives, and they are more likely to remain in low-income status as adults.
Investing in ending child poverty now means better outcomes for everyone. Childhood poverty leads to less healthy adults with more serious health and social problems. This means greater stress on our health care and social support systems. Investing in prevention now means we avoid those downstream costs and we build healthier communities. These impacts benefit all of us, regardless of our economic status.
One key intervention in child poverty is affordable, accessible, and high-quality child care and early learning. Child care is one of the biggest household expenses, up to two-thirds of a low-income family’s monthly income. Access to high-quality, universally-accessible, and affordable child care is a proven method for lowering child poverty and is an especially profound intervention for single mothers, who are among the most affected by poverty. Studies show that children in places with universal access to child care have better physical health, developmental, and psychological conditions by age six.
We can’t leave children trapped in life-long cycles of poverty. We must act now, especially during the pandemic when even more people are struggling. We have a moral obligation to end child poverty in our province, and the result would be a more healthy and compassionate society for all of us.