Bob Sanborn, Lizzie Fletcher, Craig discussed on Houston Matters
Texas Family Leadership Council and Children at Risk will host an annual future of Children's summit focused on the root causes and common misconceptions about childhood poverty. Joining us now to tell us more is Bob Sanborn, president and CEO of Children at Risk, Bob, Welcome back to the program. Yeah, Craig, thanks that for having me you do the summit every year. What do you hope to come away from it each time. I think what we really want to do right is really raise awareness on what's happening with the majority of Children in the state of Texas. What we know is that while one in 10 Children born in the United States is born in the state of Texas, when we look at our school kids as an example, 60% of those kids are in families that are low income and about 25% are below the federal poverty level. So when we have this sort of level of poverty, and we want our state to develop economically, we have to figure out ways. Uh, that we can sort of raise the bar a little bit and make sure that these kids grew up in an environment where they are going to be able to participate in a vibrant economy and they won't have their own kids growing up in poverty. We were just talking with Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher and as she was walking out of the studio, and she heard me mention that we were you and I would be discussing this. She wanted to point out the Biden administrations added this temporary increase to child tax credit. What impact might that have? And that is a game changer in many ways for Texas families, and that could be basically cut in half the level of child poverty in our state, right. It's it's a little bit of income can sometimes have a dramatic impact on families. And so when we talk about how do we remedy child poverty, one of the things is, you know, how do we make sure that our parents are getting the income that that they need to have to make sure that our kids can grow up? Well, and and I think one of the things that we see in Texas Is that our parents are working poor in many ways, right? So we have a lot of parents. They're busy working. And so the very idea that it's just about making sure that people have jobs is not is not the sole answer. They need to have. Well paying jobs or else their kids are still raising, being raised in poverty. And the other thing that a lot of us don't often realize is that when when, when you're an employer, and you're paying low wage jobs? In a sense, the government is subsidizing you because those workers are still getting snap or food stamps. They're still getting benefits. And if they were just getting well paid jobs, they wouldn't be having these things and their kids wouldn't be raised in poverty. And so that the child tax credit, I think is really Important in terms of providing much needed extra income. But I think beyond that when we look at policy needs in the state of Texas, sort of the biggest bang for our public dollar Buck in some ways is early education, right? I used to be of the belief that it was all about making sure that our K through 12 schools, especially our high schools, we're not producing dropouts. But over time what I've become to realize what the research is clearly showing is that the more money we invest in early education, sort of this 0 to 4 and And canned and pre K and kindergarten. That's really the big bang for our buck. And it's one of the key tools. One of the silver bullets if you will in the fight against child poverty. We're talking about child poverty, with Bob Sanborn, president and CEO of Children at risk. Children at risk, along with the Texas Family Leadership Council or hosting an annual future of Children's summit on July 21st. What are some of the common misconceptions out there that people have about childhood poverty? You know, I was a child that grew up in poverty, and I think one of the key things that we often think about is that it's this is one of our ways to sort of pull yourself up by your bootstraps, right? And what we what we need to realize. Is that our community, our schools, Uh Our parents play a really big role and making sure that a child can be successful, making sure that a child grows up and out of child poverty. And so one of the misconceptions, though, is that it's just all about that grich. Is that child able to do it when, indeed it's so important that we have policy solutions and when we look around the world, and when we look around the United States that states that have done and countries that have done a better job in this fight against poverty, it's been policies right early education policies. Better pay policies. Good schools. Those are all things that happen dramatic impact on outcomes with kids. There's always going to be a few kids that are out liars and that do really well and we celebrate those kids that they're they've been able to pull themselves out. But what we need to have is a system that makes sure that every child has an even chance at being successful. Not just a few of the outliers is this problem roughly the same here in Houston. And across Texas as it is in the rest of the country. Are there different circumstances here? Yeah, that's a That's a great question, because one of the things I'll often talk about is that we have the 10th highest level of child poverty in the United States here in Texas. Yet when we look at sort of those other groups, other states that are in that group. We are by far the wealthiest state. And here we have this wealthy state a great economy, Yet we have this high number of kids. That are growing up a child poverty, So we do far less than other places in terms of ending this child poverty we've seen, You know, Despite this wacky legislative session we've had There's been a lot of victories around early education, and we've been able to sort of in this state make early education of bipartisan issue. Republicans and Democrats alike want to make sure that our kids can be successful, and that's been a step in the right direction. But still we see a lot of inequity in our schools in general, uh, And health. You know, there's so much inequity in the state of Texas around health, and I think that's a key issue for us, and we see food insecurity still is a big deal. It's still you know, we passed a piece of legislation a couple years ago to mandate that any school that had a high number of low income kids had to have free breakfast. We still see school system skirting around this and not doing everything possible. To get kids a good breakfast so there to be to be number 10 in the nation and child poverty in this wealthy state. It's almost a shame. But what it means for us, though, is that all of us as child advocates need to work harder to make sure people understand that we're talking about our future when we talk about child poverty, and we're talking about the future of Texas, the Texas Family Leadership Council and Children at Risk hosts the annual Future of Children's summit. July 21st. Dr Robert Sanborn is Children at risks. President and CEO Bob Thank you very much. Thank you. Correct very much. Still.