New data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that more than one in every four Kentucky children live in poverty. The American Community Survey 1-year 2014 estimate showed 26.2 percent of Kentucky children lived in poverty, which was not a significant change from the 2013 estimate. However, the percent of Kentucky children living in poverty remains higher than when the recession began in 2008 (23.5 percent).
There are three ways in which we can respond to this kind of data. The first response is to simply accept it. But we at Kentucky Youth Advocates reject any attitude that suggests poverty is just a fact of life in Kentucky. A second response would be to promote well-intentioned solutions that currently lack political viability, making it difficult to make progress.
We choose a third approach. As a state, let’s embrace solutions that have proven effective at reducing poverty across the nation and invite common ground action. For example, implementing a refundable state Earned Income Tax Credit and increasing reimbursement for the Child Care Assistance Program for working families are policies with long histories of real impact and they invite action in 2016. These are just two of a long list of solutions that both parties can agree on to ensure that no child grows up in poverty. Poverty does not have to be a Bluegrass inevitability.