Monday, December 22, 2008

Homeland Insecurity Report: 13 Million Children in Poverty

Some of the findings of the Every Child Matters report:
According to the new edition of "Homeland Insecurity," the status of America's most vulnerable children during the 2008 holiday season looks like this:

* 13 million American children live in poverty's grip. The U.S. has the worst child poverty rate among 24 rich countries. Over the last 45 years, U.S. policies produced spectacular drops in elderly poverty rates; now the elderly are the least poor. During the same period, child poverty remained constant. One reason: Federal spending in 2007 was nearly seven times greater for persons over age 65 than under age 18 — $27,289 per person versus $4,000 per person, respectively.

* Eight million American children are without health insurance. Over a two-year period, nearly 27 million children will have no coverage for at least some period of time.

* More than three million children are reported abused and neglected. About 1,500 U.S. children die each year as a result of abuse or neglect at home, with nearly 80 percent of the fatalities involving infants and toddlers under the age of four.

* Only half of eligible three- and four-year-olds are served by Head Start, the government's early childhood development program. Early Head Start, for infants and toddlers under three, serves only one in 20 of those eligible.

* Nearly two million children have parents in prison.

* As many as 14 million children are on their own after school. Among them are an estimated 40,000 kindergarteners.