RECESSION THREATENS CONNECTICUT’S PROGRESS ON CHILD WELL-BEING
Speaker Donovan Announces Task Force on Connecticut Children and the Recession
House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan (D-Meriden) announced the formation of a legislative task force – the Children and the Recession Task Force – that will help plan Connecticut’s response to the increasingly desperate plight of children impacted by the economic recession.
Connecticut is the first in the nation to form a legislative task force to plan for children in the recession and during the recovery. A report issued by the Foundation for Child Development and Duke University last week predicts the recession will send between 2.6 million and 3.3 million children into poverty, costing American taxpayers $1.7 trillion. The estimated economic impact on Connecticut of thousands of children entering poverty is $800 million annually.
Speaker Donovan said the task force will be co-chaired by State Representatives Karen Jarmoc (D-Enfield) and Diana Urban (D-Stonington/North Stonington), and will include bipartisan membership from the state House of Representatives, state Senate, Congressional offices, economists and representatives from business, family support groups, housing advocates, human services, academia and non-profit agencies.
“There is no greater risk to Connecticut’s future than the adverse effects of this recession on our children,” Speaker Donovan said. “The evidence suggests that children will feel the impact of the economic crisis far into the future. They are our future, and we must do everything we can to protect them from the ravages of the recession. From economic security to hunger, healthcare, family and parental support, child care, education and safety, our children are at risk and it is our responsibility to care for their needs.”
Rep. Jarmoc said, “As a state, we will recover from this recession. But what is critical for us to understand is that children will not. By creating this task force, we are not waiting for the negative results to hit in four or five year but we are taking the initiative to address the problems now.”
Rep. Urban said, “We can let 35,000 children in Connecticut fall into poverty or we can move forward and work on protecting them now. I am proud that Speaker Donovan is making Connecticut a leader in this effort.”
The task force, Speaker Donovan said, will review budget implications related to children and the recession; identify trends and research resulting from the recession related to housing, employment, homelessness, child care, and unemployment; make recommendations to the Speaker on appropriate budget and policy action; and recommend efficiencies and offer ways to streamline services and access points for families.
He said the task force will report quarterly to him and legislative leadership on key findings, and also will work to identify appropriate federal stimulus opportunities to support programs for children.
The Duke University report said that virtually all the progress made in children’s economic well-being since 1975 is likely to be wiped out by the current economic downturn. Researchers said the impact is especially severe for low-income children of color. Children who fall into poverty now will feel the impact well past recovery of the economy.
Researchers Michael Linden of First Focus of Washington, DC, and Kenneth Land, the John Franklin Crowell Professor of Sociology at Duke University, presented their findings at the news conference.
The report released last week in Washington, DC, warns that family income will decline, households run by women will see incomes fall, and single-parent households headed by men will see the steepest drop of all.
Other predictions include: The housing crisis will disrupt social relationships for children; homelessness will increase; children’s health will suffer; obesity and violent crime will rise; Black and Latino children will be affected most by these changes as their communities are most sensitive to fluctuations in the economy.