SALT LAKE CITY -- State agencies, lawmakers and advocacy groups are working to get rid of poverty in Utah, and the focus is on how to stop the vicious cycle of poverty passing from generation to generation.
A new "Kids Count" report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation indicates 142,000 Utah kids ages five and under are low-income.
The report, which relies on two generations of data regarding intergenerational poverty, also states children raised in poverty will likely become an impoverished adult.
Tracy Gruber, a senior adviser with the Intergenerational Poverty Initiative, spoke about the challenges those in poverty face.
“What we're seeing is that, for many of these families, poverty is not just a matter of having enough income," she said. "There's a lot of barriers to families emerging from poverty, and our data is really just starting to reveal that."
Along with job skills and training, parents also need help with things like transportation and daycare. The research findings indicate that low-income parents often keep their older children out of school in order to watch the younger ones while the parents are working.
Advocates also want to expand on the 2012 Intergenerational Poverty Mitigation Act by working with lawmakers on things like a state earned income tax credit for low income working families.
Terry Haven, Deputy Director of Voices for Utah Children, spoke about that tax credit.
"So they get a little portion of their taxes back," she said. "And if they choose to put that money into a children’s savings account, so the child starts building money for college, the state will match it up to a hundred dollars."
The report had three recommendations:
- Create policies that equip parents and children with the income, tools and skills they need to succeed—as a family and as individuals.
- Put common sense into common practice by structuring public systems to respond to the realities facing today’s families.
- Use existing child, adult and neighborhood programs and platforms to build evidence for practical pathways out of poverty for entire families.
Click here to view or download the complete report on the AECF website.