More children live in poverty today than since the Great Recession. In 2013, 33 percent of Chicago’s children were living in poverty, up from 30 percent in 2008. In spite of recent economic turnarounds, more working families are finding their paychecks short of covering a month’s expenses. For them, wages do not cover basic shelter and nutrition, let alone child care, education, dental and health care.
- America’s poorest working families spend 1 in every 3 dollars earned—32% of their household incomes—on child care.
- Job growth has been concentrated in low-wage jobs, and most don’t include the basic benefits that families need such as paid sick leave, paid family and medical leave, flexible work schedules and predictable pay.
- Though resources are available, communities fragmented by poverty lack systems that connect and deliver them to the families who need them.
Illinois Action for Children exists today because of the recognition that American families, to be self-sufficient, need access to high‐quality opportunities that provide the foundation for a lifetime of learning, prosperity, health and happiness.
As a state and national leader in the early care and education community, Illinois Action for Children stands distinguished by its “Strong Families, Powerful Communities” approach to child development, Pre-K and Head Start education, and other family and community supports. We believe that these supports work best to ensure school and life success when administered as part of a comprehensive system that includes parents and communities. This broad approach to supporting children by supporting families is a proven and effective means to address overarching issues of endemic poverty, which is the root cause of the educational failure of America’s poorest children.