By Melissa Clepper-Faith, PCANC Policy Director
At a recent Summit, hosted by the NC Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) and Prevent Child Abuse NC (PCANC), attendees from across North Carolina discussed how modest economic support could help North Carolina families and children. How can we give a helping hand to families so that they can live purposeful, happy lives with hope for the future?
Clare Anderson, senior policy fellow at Chapin Hall, University of Chicago, spoke at the Summit and provided insight into the role of economic support to families. She presented evidence from multiple studies that modest economic support to families, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), promotes child and family health and wellbeing and can prevent child maltreatment.
Economic support to families has been shown to
- decrease a child’s chances of entering foster care
- reduce childhood adversity
- decrease child protection services reports of child neglect
- promote racial equity (over half of all Black families experience a CPS investigation, thus increasing family stress and anxiety)
- keep parents in the workforce.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency allotments to families lifted 46% of children out of poverty, enabling their families to afford childcare, rent and sufficient food, and decreasing children’s risk of entering foster care. But these emergency supports have ended or are due to end by December 2023.
As a pediatrician, I’ve seen parents struggle to provide the basics to their children, even when they are trying their hardest. When parents and caregivers struggle to obtain the basic necessities, such as rent, food, healthcare and childcare, family stress increases and children often suffer. Working families require safe, affordable, high-quality childcare in order to be able to continue employment. Parents and caregivers who are overloaded by stress (that could be removed with economic supports) often don’t have the extra time, energy or opportunities to give their children the optimal conditions to thrive. In the wealthiest nation in the world, can we do better than this?
Learn more about how Economic Supports can Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect in this report.