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The federal poverty level the standard by which the United States government determines economic need was developed forty years ago The United States has the highest poverty level of all of the industrialized nations with sixteen percent of United States children living in poverty NCCP 1 There is also disproportional among races Thirty five percent of Hispanics and forty three percent of blacks live below the poverty line Health Wrights 3 Today the federal poverty level for a family of four is 18400 There are twelve million children living in poverty in the United States Twice the income that is considered poverty is needed for most families to provide their children with basic necessities such as adequate food stable housing and health care For those families who live in the gray area between poverty and minimum economic security have many of the economic hardships that officially poor families face Unfortunately as their income grows they lose public benefits making it difficult for them to reach economic self-sufficiency Gershoff 2 Children living in poverty suffer academically socially and physically Living in low-income families exacts a measurable toll on childrens overall healthy development The intellectual social-emotional and physical development of children in low-income families have been shown to lag behind that of their more economically stable peers Gershoff 3 By the time they begin formal schooling children in low-income families already lag significantly behind their more affluent peers across the three domains of development This may because child care centers preschools and family child care situations that low-income parents can afford are of poor quality Schools with high proportions of low-income children have higher numbers of inexperienced teachers fewer computers less internet access and larger class sizes than schools with lower proportions of low-income children Thus the children who stand the most to gain from quality schools often do not have access to them Gershoff 7 While government policy emphasis on cognitive skills to achieve academic success
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