I did not learn everything I needed to know in Mrs. Waggoner’s kindergarten in Beeville, Texas, but I did learn… Read More
This evening I read Louisiana’s plan to reduce child poverty and I am still scratching my head. What prevents child well-being initiatives from gaining traction in Louisiana?
I ask because I’ve just read the 2009 Implementation Plan to reduce child poverty (1) prepared by the Child Poverty Prevention Council for Louisiana.
The plan’s Executive Summary begins, “In the summer of 2008, the Louisiana Legislature created the Child Poverty Prevention Council for Louisiana and the Child Poverty Prevention Fund (what happened to those funds?). The purpose and goal is to pursue programs which will reduce child poverty in the state by 50% over the next 10 years.”
For the Louisiana Legislature’s Child Poverty Prevention Council’s plan to be successful, child poverty must decline from 27% to 13.5% in the next two years. Sadly, it will not happen. In fact, Louisiana’s child poverty rate rose in 2016 to 28% – higher than when the Implementation Plan was created.(2) But this curse of child poverty is not for Louisiana’s lack of a solid plan!
The Implementation Plan created by the Child Poverty Prevention Council for Louisiana is a remarkably prescient document that clearly identifies actionable steps that – if it had been implemented in 2009 – may have significantly reduced child poverty in Louisiana. The plan received national attention!
What prevents child well-being initiatives from gaining traction in Louisiana?
The Implementation Plan contains a sentence that stuns the reader like a cattle prod to the belly button: “In all these measures, factors, indicators, and outcomes, Louisiana consistently ranks near the bottom of the 50 states and has done so persistently for many decades.” The shock is that we have now added another decade at the bottom since those words were penned. Again, what prevents child well-being initiatives from gaining traction in Louisiana?
Finally, a Google search this evening returns nothing for me since 2008 about Louisiana’s “Child Poverty Prevention Fund” which the Louisiana Legislature created(3). Try it yourself and see. Search for [Louisiana “Child Poverty Prevention Fund”]
Where did Louisiana’s money for fighting child poverty go? What prevents child well-being initiatives from gaining traction in Louisiana?
Rick Wheat, President and Chief Executive Officer
Louisiana United Methodist Children and Family Services