Statement for the Record on House Committee on Appropriations Highlighting Child Poverty
Statement for the Record of Myra Jones-Taylor, Chief Policy Officer, ZERO TO THREE.
On March 3rd, 2020, the House Committee on Appropriations held a hearing on child poverty. While poverty at any age is harmful, timing matters. Living in poverty in the earliest years of life has proven to be particularly damaging. Most alarming and disconcerting is the fact that young children are the age group most likely to live in poverty and face the harsh consequences of toxic stress that often accompanies it. About 1 in 5 babies and toddlers live in poverty - during the same period of rapid development unparalleled at any later point in life. Empirical evidence shows that the links between poverty and health problems later in life are mediated by the increased exposure of children in poverty to such chronic risk factors. The stressors associated with poverty directly affect children, as well as the adult(s) in their households. Further, the conditions associated with poverty can lead to chronic, unrelenting stress which can become toxic, adversely affecting the brain architecture in young children in particular. ZERO TO THREE submitted testimony to emphasize the critical importance of implementing policies to address the needs of today’s families living in, or near poverty.
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