12/21/2010 - This Christmas season 15.5 million children in America are living in poverty -- the highest child poverty rate the nation has seen since 1959. Officially, poverty means living in a family of four with an income below $22,050, a family of three with an income less than $18,310, and a family of two with an income below $14,570. This is what the federal government determines to be the amount needed for a minimum standard of living in America. For poor children, though, poverty means more than lack of money. For them, it can be a life sentence of exile from the larger society.
The Children’s Defense Fund commissioned Julia Cass, an award-winning journalist, to prepare a report on child poverty and to interview poor children and families. She began in Quitman County, Mississippi, a touchstone of poverty in America that was the starting point of the 1968 Poor People's Campaign.
A good education is a major escape route but it is a well-known disgrace that America's poorest children generally go to the worst schools, which perpetuates disadvantage. A study done by the Economic Mobility Project of the Pew Charitable Trusts found that of American children born to parents in the bottom fifth income level, 42 percent—and 54 percent of African American children—remained there as adults.
Read the article Foreign Aid for Mississippi's Children in its entirety on the Huffington Post Web site.