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Family Fact of the Week: Stagnant Poverty Numbers Signal Need for Change
Posted By Collette Caprara On October 2, 2013 @ 4:46 pm In Culture,Economics | Comments Disabled
The number of people in poverty in America stagnated in 2012, according to a recent report by the U.S. Census Bureau.
This comes as no surprise. Since the government launched its War on Poverty 50 years ago—and has now poured nearly $20 trillion into a massive welfare system—poverty numbers have barely budged.
In contrast with the welfare system’s failure to empower individuals and families to rise from poverty, grassroots leaders  in low-income neighborhoods throughout the country have achieved notable success  in helping people move upward toward self-sufficiency. These men and women work with shoestring budgets but have firsthand knowledge of the problems they address and an impassioned commitment to make a difference. Their approach differs substantially from the government’s conventional approach and can provide guidelines for ways in which the nation’s welfare system can be reformed to truly make a difference in the lives of the people it serves.
A key element of community-based outreach is promoting marriage and strengthening families . Promoting marriage and healthy relationships is crucial to uplift from poverty for numerous reasons. Many of the cases of entrenched poverty in America stem from broken relationships.
Most long-term poverty occurs in single-parent homes. Sadly, today over 40 percent  of children are born to single mothers. However, marriage reduces the probability that a child will be in poverty  by 82 percent. Marital status is linked to financial well-being  and brings a higher likelihood of financial success  for men as well as women. Married men tend to have greater earnings, and married couples are more likely to own a home, accumulate savings , and attain affluence.
Strong and stable families also contribute to the physical and mental health  of men and women and protect children against risk behaviors that can hinder their ability to thrive as adults. Research  shows that living in an intact family reduces the likelihood that youth will engage in substance abuse  or early sexual activity , improves their psychological and emotional health , and enhances their prospects for accomplishing higher levels of academic achievement  and educational attainment.
Also, in contrast to the approach of the failed welfare system, effective grassroots outreach to the poor typically entails the notions of personal responsibility and reciprocity through work.  This notion of reciprocity is key to helping individuals rise from dependency. It often entails practical advantages such as job training and placement through community partnerships or on-site businesses, and it contributes to the self-worth and dignity of those striving to rise from poverty.
The strategies and goals of the government’s welfare system need reform. Government policy should take its cue from those who are effectively addressing the problems of poverty. It should establish meaningful work requirements  to promote personal responsibility and include initiatives to encourage marriage and strengthen families .
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2013/10/02/family-fact-of-the-week-stagnant-poverty-numbers-signal-need-for-change/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://blog.heritage.org/wp-content/uploads/poverty_1301002.jpg
 grassroots leaders: http://www.amazon.com/The-Triumphs-Joseph-Community-Neighborhoods/dp/1416567860
 notable success: http://www.realclearreligion.org/printpage/?url=http://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2011/09/21/josephs_are_poised_to_restore_america.html
 promoting marriage and strengthening families: http://blog.heritage.org/2012/12/02/helping-the-poor-and-addicted-turn-their-lives-around-video/
 40 percent: http://www.familyfacts.org/charts/205/four-in-10-children-are-born-to-unwed-mothers
 child will be in poverty: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/09/marriage-america-s-greatest-weapon-against-child-poverty
 financial well-being: http://familyfacts.org/briefs/8/marriage-and-poverty
 financial success: http://familyfacts.org/briefs/18/for-love-and-money-the-impact-of-marriage-and-economic-well-being
 accumulate savings: http://familyfacts.org/videos/6/marriage-is-connected-to-financial-security
 health: http://www.familyfacts.org/briefs/20/marriage-and-health
 Research: http://www.familyfacts.org/
 substance abuse: http://familyfacts.org/videos/8/-strong-families-help-kids-to-just-say-no
 sexual activity: http://familyfacts.org/briefs/36/family-structure-and-teen-sex
 psychological and emotional health: http://familyfacts.org/briefs/34/family-and-adolescent-well-being
 academic achievement: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2008/09/academic-success-begins-at-home-how-children-can-succeed-in-school
 reciprocity through work.: http://blog.heritage.org/2012/07/30/how-welfares-work-requirements-make-a-difference-in-lives/
 work requirements: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/09/welfare-work-requirements-vague-replacement-of-work-for-welfare
 encourage marriage and strengthen families: http://thf_media.s3.amazonaws.com/2010/pdf/Solutions_8.pdf
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