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The proportion of children growing up in poverty is more than twice as high in the United States as in Germany France or Scandinavia The US government spends billions on anti-poverty programs but does not provide the kind of comprehensive safety net thats common in Western Europe Some observers look for the explanation in American culture I feel that the answer can be found in the political culture of Washington DC Reducing child poverty is one of the smartest investments that Americans can make in their nations future Fewer children in poverty will mean 1 more children entering school ready to learn 2 more successful schools and fewer school dropouts 3 better child health and less strain on hospitals and public health systems 4 less stress on the juvenile justice system 5 less child hunger and malnutrition and other important advances Americans can create uniquely American solutions to the problem of child poverty The following are some potential steps to invest in families and reduce the child poverty rate Expand cost-effective prevention programs Examples a provide nutritious food for pregnant women and young children b improve poor preschoolers future life chances by providing them with affordable quality early childhood education and child care and family support programs and c teen pregnancy prevention programs to prevent teen pregnancy Most poor children have at least one employed parent Private sector employers and government at the federal state and local level can all help to make-work pay for families with children Both the public and private sectors have a role to play in increasing family incomes through non-poverty wages an expanded earned income tax credit and providing access to affordable quality childcare health insurance and transportation to and from work A strong national economy and welfare reform have contributed to a significant increase in the proportion of poor families with at least one parent in the work force over the past several years To
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