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Children Issues Absent From Policy Agenda

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By Janice Ellis, PhD, Kansas City, MO —

Children issues are all too often absent from the public policy agenda at the local, state, regional and national level. Yet, there are more than 74.2 million children under the age of 18 in the United States, which is an all-time high according to the last Census taken in 2010.

Some might argue that while the actual number of children is high, they only make up 24% of the overall national population. They might also argue that the rate of growth of children in the general population was less during the last Census period (2000-2010) than the previous decade (1990—2000), 3% in the last decade vs. 14% in the previous decade.

The bottom line is: We still have more children than ever. You wouldn’t think that is the case when you hear what issues consume public discourse and public policy initiatives. Children issues absent from policy agenda seems not only to be the norm but readily acceptable.

Children issues absent from policy agenda

Children issues absent from policy agenda. Photo Credit: huffingtonpost.com

How many platforms or policy priorities of candidates in this current election cycle address the needs of the nation’s children? You do not hear children issues in their speeches, forums or debates. Children issues absent from policy agenda is commonplace.

Children Issues Absent From Policy Agenda

Have you heard any of the presidential candidates talk about how they plan to improve the education of the nation’s children? We have heard a couple talk about affordable or free tuition at the college level. But what will they do get rid of educational inequality in grades K-12? What will they do to close the achievement gaps that are rampant in districts all across the nation?

And haven’t some candidates vowed should they become president, they would eliminate the U.S. Department of Education?

Children issues absent from policy agenda. Photo Credit: centraloregoncoastnow.com

Children issues absent from policy agenda. Photo Credit: centraloregoncoastnow.com

What will be done to eliminate childhood poverty? More than 16 million children in the United States live in poverty. That is 22% of all children. A family of four whose annual income is below $23,000 is considered living in poverty, when research shows a family needs twice as much to meet basic living expenses.

These children will never stop living in poverty if elected officials at the state and national level do not push and pass a higher minimum wage.

What about access to quality and needed health care services? Many running for office want to eliminate the Affordable Care Act (known as Obama Care), yet they have not proposed any viable alternative. It is estimated that 16-18 million Americans who did not have access to healthcare now have it under the Affordable Care Act.

What is the future of America’s children in three very important areas: achieving quality education, having access to quality healthcare, and living in households not besieged by poverty and the daily challenge of having shelter, food and clothing? We cannot afford to have children issues absent from policy agenda.

What are your candidates at the local, state, and national levels saying about what they are going to do for the issues facing our children? It is a question that we as caring adults need to ask.

Feature Photo Credit: hhh.umn.edu

Children Issues Absent From Policy Agenda

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Janice Ellis
Janice Ellis
Janice S. Ellis, PhD, is an award-winning author. Her book, From Liberty to Magnolia: In Search of the American Dream is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other major book sellers. She has written a column for newspapers, radio, and now online, where she analyzes educational, political, social and economic issues across race, ethnicity, age and socio-economic status. You can see her writings on this website.


  1. Jane Williams says:

    Our government should really prioritize our children. Or is it because they can’t vote yet, that our government officials barely care about them??

  2. David Mureithi says:

    This little beings are the future of any country. Without them, there will be no future. We should involve them in every policy we make.

  3. Thelma C. says:

    I believe that any organization who cares about the welfare and issues faced by children will help bring a better generation. This is because when a society breeds better children, they grow to become better individuals and better leaders in the future.

  4. Vikram Parmar says:

    The issues of kids are absent from the public policy at state, local and national level. There are 74.2 million kids who are less than 18 years of age in USA.

  5. Scott Summers says:

    I never knew that children are also put into the side. Well with the amount of world problems that a country faces it can be understandable. However, it should not be the case.

  6. vikram parmar says:

    There are vital arenas for getting best education. Children issues have to be addressed.

  7. mina says:

    Good of you to bring this to the forefront, our children deserve all the rights and privileges that nature has bestowed on them and as such nobody should deprive them of this. The time is nigh for leaders to look into the welfare of children and grant almost all their needs.

  8. Kuttan says:

    Children are the most important asset of a nation.they decides the future of a nation.still policy makers and state of different countries are not giving due attention to the welfare and education.if they are not properly brought up they will become liability instead of assets

  9. Marc Anthony says:

    This is alarming. If there is one sector in the society that is clearly underrepresented, that will be the children. Who would fight for them, when they themselves could not? I think out leaders should give focus to childrens welfare as we are talking about the future of our society. This is something that should really be taken upon seriously.

  10. Matt says:

    Thanks for speaking on this,this is like a global problem because I hardly hear about the children’s plights in any manifesto. I think candidates should be made to speak about this before being elected so that they will be held responsible and accountable if the children suffer.

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