“This is like vacation”, the children exclaimed. Many children at crisis centers do not want to leave once they arrive. Their home lives are so terrible that they would rather be away from their parents than with them. Many of these children are neglected in ways of education, starvation, and even physical and mental abuse. Poverty is a main problem that contributes to the cycle of this abuse through history, economics, politics, culture, values, and connections. According to The Nation, in the late 1950s, the poverty rate was approximately 22 percent, with just shy of 40 million Americans living in poverty. The rate declined slowly, finally reaching a low of 11.1 percent in 1973 and rising to a high of nearly 15 percent in 1983, 1993, and 2011. The most ever recorded was 46.2 million Americans living in poverty in 2011. Currently, there are 47 million people living below the poverty line– $22,400 per year for a family of four. Over 100 million people, or one in three Americans, live on less than $46,000 for a family of four. Despite poverty being such a problem today, the current budget debate is focused on cuts in domestic discretionary spending, things like childcare, Head Start, federal housing, transportation, job creation programs, job training, which would cause a devastating impact on struggling people. Over 20 percent of children live in poverty, and over 36 percent of the extremely poor are children. By investing in child poverty, this country would also be investing in the future but not everyone recognizes that. Another issue with modern poverty is the fact that in order to get a higher paying job, there needs to be a certain level of education, which can be highly expensive. Children stuck in this cycle will never have a chance to succeed. Poverty is driven by five factors; unemployment, personal debt, educational failure, addiction, trauma, and the breakdown of the family. Because of the unemployment rates uncertainty, many people are left without the resources and education to find jobs they need to support their families. Debt contributes to this issue because if people do not have jobs to pay it off, they come into more debt. Without money, there is a lack of education. Without education, people can turn to drugs, which leads to addiction. Trauma and the breakdown of the family contribute to these issues causing a never-ending cycle. Crisis nursery provides diapers and food for these people to bring home to their children. Poverty effects everything in a child’s life. Some parents drop their kids off because they were sleeping in cars while others were sleeping on the streets. Poverty also created problems in the home with the parents. Parents fighting creates stress on the kids and creates violence, which could harm the kids. Most people who grow up in poverty stay in poverty for the rest of their lives. It is hard for people to live like this because of the pressure it puts on their lives. That is why organizations like these are so important because these people need help. Childcare is very expensive so when people cannot access birth control, it becomes a larger issue. Many of the families who go to Crisis nursery have five children or more. They need help the most because they have more than one child to provide for. Programs like these are very helpful but they will not solve the problem. Economic inequality is the extent of the economic difference between the rich and the poor. As opportunities for employment and income grow, so does the economy. Stronger labor markets and higher income levels tend to help those families living in poverty move above the threshold. Because of the low minimum wage rate, many people cannot support their families because the cost to live is way above what one would make in a year. People stuck in the cycle of poverty have a very hard time getting out because of this. They cannot pay for college, which would allow them to find a better paying job. Economics do play a large role in poverty especially because of how expensive it is to have children. According to CNN, one child costs on average around $200,000 from the time they are born to the time they are eighteen. Politics play a role because some politicians believe it is people’s faults for not having jobs because of “laziness” but in reality that is probably not completely the case. Too often, the issue of poverty devolves into a conversation about handouts, lack of will or parental responsibility. Instead of playing the blame game and assigning fault to the victims of an economic system and political structure that has done little to help lift them out of poverty, it is essential that politicians, activists, businesses, faith- and community-based organizations and concerned citizens take advantage of the media attention now being paid to issues surrounding poverty. The minimum wage rate is shaping up to become a key issue in the upcoming midterm elections. Some members of Congress are pushing to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour. Instead of many people, benefitting, large corporations benefit from the low minimum wage rate. This leads to millions of children suffering nationwide. Another key factor is the political divide against funding for places like Planned Parenthood who can give out free birth control. Without the access to birth control, many children are born into homes that cannot support them, which leads to the need of places like Crisis Nursery. The connections, values, and culture of poverty cause everyone to constantly want as much money as they can get. This causes problems for those who may be paid less or have unfair working conditions that can be dangerous. The culture in America makes assumptions that poor people are lazy, which could be true in some cases, but probably not in most. Ultimately, some people are just not given the same opportunities as others because of not being born into money or status. Those that were not that lucky should not be ridiculed for how they are forced to live. Instead, there should be more funding towards job training, childcare, and women’s health. All of these things together could ultimately lower the poverty rate, which in return could help those children stuck in the cycle. Places like the St. Louis Crisis Nursery not only provide a safe home for children, but also provide food, clothing, diapers, formula, and household items as needed for anyone who stop by the location. They give more than 2,000 food bags to families who do not have food in the home. On their website. Crisis Nursery talks about how in 2015 there were on average 188 reports of child abuse each day in Missouri, 37 children were killed as a result of abuse, and studies have shown that the incidence of child abuse and neglect may be as much as three times greater than what is reported. These statistics are heartbreaking as there is very little that can be done about this. Support towards places like the Crisis Nursery is the best way to make sure less children are effected by abuse. Children that are abused are more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, be arrested for a violent crime, become homeless as an adult, and have a decreased educational attainment. Utilization of crisis nurseries have lessened the stress of caregivers ultimately leading to less child abuse and neglect among children. In conclusion, all of these things lead to the need of places like Crisis Nursery. All of these factors feed into the fact that America has a huge problem. We need organizations like these to aid those who are stuck in the endless cycle of poverty. We need to recognize that it is not caused by laziness but the fact that many are just blindly raised into that lifestyle not knowing that there is anything better than that.
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