According to David Woods, poverty is a state in which the family cannot afford the cost of the basic needs such as shelter, food, water, and education. As a result, it affects the children development cycle leading to immoral cases such as joining gang groups, drug trafficking and violence hence leading to family management problems. However, Hecla views poverty as a condition of hopelessness and misery. David profiles USA as an epitome of high child poverty rate among the developed countries leading at 22% followed by Australia and Canada at 14%, UK and Israel at 10%, Germany, and Italy at 7% and Norway and Belgium between 4% to 5% (Wood 2003). More so, basing on the US census data of 2000, 16.2 % of individuals below 18 years of age perish in poverty. Children under five years old live in abject poverty totaling to six million. The primary race of children affected is the whites then the Hispanics and Non-Hispanic Blacks. Their statistics ranges are 1.9 million, 1.6 million and 1.4 million respectively. On the other hand, David indicates that a parent's level of education determines the family's income. For example, parents who have high school education as the highest qualification heads a low-income family compared to a parent who possesses college certificate. However, I do concur with the author that poverty affects the growth and development of children which turns them into personalities that are cruel, aggressive and arrogant. Though he attaches the education level of parents as one of the leading causes of child poverty life, I partly don't go along with his opinion because they are other many ways in which parents can earn a living that is above the poverty line to provide for their families. For instance, a parent can be a talented footballer, an athletic or a musician without having a high educational achievement. Therefore, the level of parent education is not the only factor that correlates to poverty.
More so, David gives a lesser acknowledgment to the impact and value of other factors that leads to poverty such as race and inflation. He accounts that the white are much poorer than the other races presence in the Unites States. Poverty should be a matter of wholeness by treating all races as having an equal risk to adverse effects of poverty without creating segregation lines among them. For instance, 6% of whites' children were poor in five years compared to the blacks' children at 29% in more than 10years of poverty (Wood 2003). However, increase in the cost of non-food items has led to high family expenditure. Such non-food items include transport costs, rental expenses, and clothing costs. The prices are greater than the cost of food hence perpetuating the misery of children living in poverty. For example, a 77% of United States households spend 50% of their earnings on rent. However, there is a shortage of 200,000 living units hence leading to 24% overcrowding in accessible residential areas. I do agree with the view on futile efforts to reduce poverty that despite the government and non-governmental organization initiatives programs such as TANF and AFDC, Medicaid and primary social security to alleviate harsh living conditions, many families and children are still living in poverty. It is true that rapid changes in technology have displaced many employees due to low education achievement due to lack of expertise. The minimum wage rate has also lost value as a result of an increase in the level living standards. When a single parent leads a family, he or she increases children incidence of poverty since they will rely on a single income to access basic needs. Thus, a family with both working parents is less poor unlike a family with a single parent because they have a double income to cater for the family expenses.
Nevertheless, it is factual that poverty leads to family alienation and increase in violence and heinous crimes. Low-income families' lack interconnections with other families and community hence miss out opportunities. Their children participate less in co-curriculum activities affecting their emotional, physical and intellectual growth. A recent study by Duncan and Brooks-Gunn on the effects of poverty on the development of children and education indicates that poor children have a high rate of school dropout and low graduation rates. Additionally, poverty leads to an inability to access quality medical attention. Recent national surveys show that low-income families are unable to afford medication and proper diet due to lack of sufficient income and family dysfunction. For instance, a black woman has a higher chance of giving birth to a low-weight baby, unlike a white female. However, racial comparison by the author increases criticism on the racial discrimination in his attempt to magnify the impact of poverty.
According to David, the pediatrics plays a critical role in curbing extreme dangers of poverty on access to medical care. I strongly agree with him on pediatric participation in the provision of free vaccination programs. They should reach out to low-income families as well as cordially welcome them to medical facilities without bias. Consequently, child health, growth and development will improve. It is significant to appreciate the pediatric efforts in creating the CATCH program (American Academy of Pediatrics Community Access to Child Health). It provides grants for pediatrics to provide better health care services such as reach out and refer children to community-based facilities to get access to best treatment. They also help in the implementation of legislation related to child health and development both at the local level and the state.
Poverty is a subject of concern not only in the United States but also the rest of the world. It effects on child development, and health is severe in cases where there is no government and non-governmental interventions. More so, to promote virtues of mutual coexistence in society, low-income families should not be avoided but rather be supported to develop the safe neighborhood. The community in collaboration with the government agencies and other bodies should pull their efforts together to promote campaigns against poverty.
Wood, D. (2003). Effect of child and family poverty on child health in the United States. Pediatrics, 112(Supplement 3), 707-711.
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