Children and Poverty...What can be done?

Bottom line February 2019

 By Linda Jorgenson, Board Member - League of Women Voters of Ashland & Bayfield Counties

Too many children face economic barriers to achieving their full potential. In Ashland and Bayfield Counties over 20 percent of children live in poverty.  The Wisconsin End Child Poverty Campaign wants to do something about this.

On Thursday, March 7, the League of Women Voters of Ashland & Bayfield Counties (LWV/ABC) has invited John Wagner to share the experience of Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire County with organizing around this Campaign. It will be held at the Northern Great Lakes Visitors Center from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. 

Wagner is a retired Chief Engineer from Cray Research in Eau Claire and Chairperson of the WISDOM JONAH End Child Poverty campaign in his area. He has a PhD and PostDoc in Chemistry and a personal interest in human brain development. Describing why he has become passionate about ending child poverty Wagner states:

I strongly believe that youth represent the next generation of leaders. I have had ten years of experience teaching young adults who live in poverty (volunteer at Trinity Equine Therapy in Eau Claire, active in Gun Violence committee at First Presbyterian Church in Eau Claire, member of the Kid’s First Action Group in Eau Claire, United States Soccer Federation referee, referee instructor, and assessor, and NISOA (NCAA) college referee), and keenly appreciate the difficulties they live with. This, combined with my multiple interests in modern science that informs us about how poverty affects human development, has led to my strong interest in child poverty and the impacts poverty has on adult outcomes.

This is born out in the many studies in the past twenty years which amply demonstrate that children who live in poverty are at greater risk of education challenges, health problems, lower future earnings, and shortened life expectancy.  Since many Ashland and Bayfield County governments, businesses, health care agencies, churches, and civic organizations are already working hard on these problems, the LWV/ABC would like to see our counties unite with other communities around the state to press for state level action.  They endorse the goal of the End Child Poverty Campaign to have the Wisconsin Legislature set a target to reduce child poverty and racial disparity by one-half in 10 years and develop the policies to make that happen.  Since evidence based best practice policies show this can be done, it’s just a matter of the will power to get down to work.

The forum is free and open to everyone.

The League of Women Voters of Ashland & Bayfield Counties is a nonpartisan political organization whose main objective is to promote political responsibility through the informed and active participation of all citizenship government at all levels, especially locally.  It influences public policy through education and advocacy. Get involved with the local League at http://www.lwvabcwi.org/or info@lwvabcwi.org.