Join the West Virginia Campaign to
Raise Young Children out of Poverty
Thirty percent (30%) of West Virginia boys and girls under age 6 live in poverty. Our state also has the highest rate of 16-19 year-olds who are neither in school, nor in the labor force. Research in brain development shows that social, emotional and cognitive development is shaped in early childhood and has a lifelong effect. Poor kids are 5 times more likely to have children outside marriage, twice as likely to be arrested, and nearly 3 times as likely to have severe health problems. Poor kids also end up earning incomes less than half those of their counterparts. Taking care of our most vulnerable children is not only the right thing to do; it is the best way to help our state’s health, welfare, and economy in the long run. To do this, we are building an organized, statewide voice of kids and families to advocate for the changes they need.
Over the next year, as we begin this campaign, our goals are to:
· Organize a broad coalition across race, religious, geographic, and ideological lines.
· Survey and mobilize a base of families and kids to share their stories and lead this campaign.
· Research and develop a policy agenda.
· Create and begin to act on a legislative strategy for achieving our policy goals.
A leading group of West Virginians – policy advocates, service providers, religious leaders, parents, labor and business leaders – have begun to meet to form a strategy for responding to the crisis facing our kids. Child poverty is a big problem, but it is not an impossible one. One thing we know is that there is no silver bullet; we will need to incorporate reforms in areas ranging from criminal justice to maternal health to special programs for the children of veterans. But mostly, we are learning our lessons by traveling across the state and meeting with people like you to gain new insight into what it will take to turn around our children’s future.
What We Can Do
We hope you will join us. Here are some of the ways you can add your voice to this effort:
3 in 10
WVkids grow up in poverty.
Become a Co-Sponsor and add your organization’s name to our efforts. You will receive –email updates and a vote in our 2013 Platform.
ü Join an Issue Team as a way to help us identify clear, winnable issues for 2013 – child care, literacy, jobs, etc. – that will help raise young children and families out of poverty.
ü Organize a group to participate in our Kids and Families Day at the Legislature, February 26th.
ü Convene a Child Poverty Forum in your town or region, to win support from local policymakers for our platform.
ü Make a Donation. This campaign will require funding to research, print materials, educate our lawmakers, and mobilize kids and families to make their voices heard.
For information, contact WV Healthy Kids & Families director Stephen Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org, 304.610.6512).
 Kids Count Data Center. http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/bystate/stateprofile.aspx?state=WV&group=All&loc=50&dt=1%2c3%2c2%2c4
 Jack P. Shonkoff and Deborah A. Phillips, editors, From Neurons to Neighborhoods, The Science of Early Childhood Development, National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2000. Also cited: http://www.princeton.edu/futureofchildren/publications/docs/07_02_03.pdf,