What Can Be Done?
April 13, 2004 6:31 AM   Subscribe

Low-Income Children At Risk "Low-income children are disproportionately exposed to a daunting array of adverse social and physical environmental conditions," according to Gary Evans of Cornell University. Evans reviewed almost 200 studies to document the environment of childhood poverty in the current issue of American Psychologist (Vol. 59:2, 77-92, 2004). Public policy also tends to consider just one "magic bullet" at a time, Evans says. "To make a difference, we need to take a broader perspective for intervention.” What public policy changes would you suggest to protect and enrich the lives of children in low-income communities?
posted by mcgraw (6 comments total)
Parks, and access to nature, nutritional education, branch libraries, access to the internet, well financed public schools, reduction in crime by progressive societal treatment of addicts, positive role models, cheap and extensive public transit, progressive development/city density zoning........

Many of these measures can be done surprisingly cheaply as the example of Curitiba suggests
posted by troutfishing at 6:44 AM on April 13, 2004

I always figured that, with government funding (particularly via a Head Start type of program), communities in low-income areas could establish child care facilities that are run by members of the communities, perhaps mostly by those with children themselves. Kids would certainly benefit from having safe, adult-supervised places to be after school until parent(s) are home from work. Perhaps caretakers might include older folks who have already retired. Naturally, all involved would have to be motivated to do so and the care might have to be fee-based, but parents and grandparents could take part in after school childcare for family members. Just ideas...
posted by mcgraw at 6:45 AM on April 13, 2004

Great link, troutfishing. I especially like this idea:
Orphaned or abandoned street children are a problem all over Brazil. Lerner got each industry, shop and institution to 'adopt' a few children, providing them with a daily meal and a small wage in exchange for simple maintenance gardening or office chores.
posted by mcgraw at 6:53 AM on April 13, 2004

Low-Income Children At Risk

Duh, those kids need to get better jobs. I mean, sure, gardening and babysitting aren't going to bring in the real money. You need to get hooked up on smuggling cigarettes, or gambling or prostitution. That's how to make money. Don't kids know anything -- won't somebody think of the children?!
posted by zpousman at 7:31 AM on April 13, 2004

Well, we're trying. But you're seducing them away from the straight and narrow with your flashy criminal ways.
posted by troutfishing at 7:46 AM on April 13, 2004

I heard something similar on NPR last week...and one of the factors that they mentioned was housing and what a drastic difference it could make in current and future health, learning and potential. I was really astounded by the statistics that I heard...I'll have to go dig around npr and see if I can find it.
posted by dejah420 at 10:59 PM on April 13, 2004

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