Hiding in the shadows of our current global health crisis lies a different devastating issue: child poverty. The pandemic has pushed millions of families over the edge into poverty and for children, particularly our youngest, the consequences could last a lifetime.

Being poor as a child has been shown to have long-term negative impacts on kids’ physical and mental health, brain development, and education. Children who grow up poor are more likely to be poor as adults. For children of color, these risks are only more pressing – nearly 3 in 4 poor children are children of color.

Kids Are Essential, a group of organizations committed to the success. of children, calls on our leaders to invest in children and their families as early as possible, and address the economic, racial, and health disparities that were made worse by the pandemic.

They stand for:

🔵 Ensuring family economic security through affordable access to food, health care, housing, and transportation
🔵 Increasing access to affordable, high-quality child care, particularly for infants and toddlers
🔵 Ensuring paid family, medical, and sick leave for all working families
🔵 Prioritizing maternal and child health before, during, and after pregnancy
🔵 Centering mental health as a necessary foundation for later success

Our ask is that you stand with them also. Please visit the Kids Are Essential website and share their message with your networks and communities to promote the effort and encourage others to add their voice.

We want you help highlight the child poverty crisis and educate others on how the pandemic has deepened divides. The urgency of this crisis cannot be underestimated. We’ve allowed millions of children to live in poverty for far too long. It’s time we make a change.

Thank you for all that you do for early childhood in Arkansas!

Gregg Cooper
AECA President

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