Exploring Issues Related to Local Poverty
EDUC 6162 - Issues and Trends in the Early Childhood Field
March 13, 2012
“Millions of children are denied basic rights...”
Dr. Cathy Grace quoting Valerie Polakow
As a member of a famously urban community, Los Angeles, California, I found it interesting that in her interview, Dr Grace emphasized the impact of children in poverty in rural communities. My explorations have led me to believe that urban communities face a complex set of issues that impact a family’s well-being and that pose very real threats of poverty in the absence of simple income calculations. Federal Poverty Guidelines as applied for example to Head Start eligibility, are applied nationwide (with modified guidelines for Hawaii and Alaska). While Los Angeles County has more than its share of “poor” families according to these guidelines, these simple income calculations deny many families that are at risk of failure to thrive from accessing important early education services. Even the more liberal California State Preschool eligibility guidelines prevent families in high cost-of-living communities from accessing services by implementing a statewide formula. Even early education service providers in high cost-of-living communities are threatened by these calculations as the formula for reimbursement is standardized across the state. This means that after considerations are made for the higher lease expenses and salary and benefit expenses resulting from operating in high cost-of-living communities, less money for services is available to pass on to the children in the form of direct services. In this way, the notion of poverty as a personal shortcoming versus a larger societally-influenced is perpetuated as children, and their families, in high cost-of-living communities are harmed by unreasonable eligibility requirements, compromised direct service allocations by programs, and public perceptions. This issue as...
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