Childhood Poverty and the Social Safety Net

Charles N Oberg, Andrea Aga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Childhood poverty in the USA remains an issue that concerns the child, the family, the community, each state, and the nation. It also is a topic that pediatricians must become cognizant of because of the impact it has on the children we care for daily. It goes beyond the specific income threshold that sets the federal poverty level; rather it impacts on the ability of families to acquire life's basic needs to allow their children the opportunity to reach their full potential. These basic needs include adequate nutrition to grow and develop in an optimal fashion and a secure and stable home in a safe neighborhood, which allows for play, exploration, and physical activity. It must also include access to health insurance coverage as well as a physician, health center, and health system to meet their medical needs. In addition, we must provide early education opportunities to nurture the social and emotional health of our children and prepare each child for school. The school environment must promote academic achievement and the broader community must foster opportunities to minimize violence and reduce the need for incarceration. The integration of such provisions represents a broadening and redefinition of the Social Safety Net that incorporates both public and private sector efforts to maximize the life potential of each child.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-262
Number of pages26
JournalCurrent problems in pediatric and adolescent health care
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by a “Leadership Education in Maternal and Child Public Health” award from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the US Department of Health and Human Services, Maternal and Child Health Bureau , 6T76 MC00005-46 .

Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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