Published Online: March 5, 2003
Published in Print: March 5, 2003, as Children & Families

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right More information on working-poor families is available online at www.childtrends.org.

Working-Poor Families: The percentage of poor children whose parents work at least part time fell from 43 percent in 2000 to 40 percent in 2001, according to an analysis of government data by Child Trends, a nonprofit research organization based in Washington.

The decrease marks a reversal from the trend set during the previous years under the 1996 welfare-reform law. The percentage of poor children in working families had risen from 32 percent the year the law was passed to 43 percent in 2000.

While researchers don't know exactly why the rate has since declined, they say it is likely linked to the economic slowdown.

"It certainly accompanied a substantial increase in the unemployment rate," said Richard Wertheimer, the area director for welfare and poverty at Child Trends.

Moving poor parents with children into the workforce was one of the primary goals of the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. Under President Bush's plan for the law's pending reauthorization, work requirements would increase.

But Mr. Wertheimer said that, in the current economic climate, "it's going to be increasingly difficult, especially for people who are not highly skilled, to find employment."

Child Trends defines "working poor" families as those whose incomes fall below the federal poverty line and in which two parents work a total of at least 35 hours a week or one parent works at least 20 hours a week.


Spotlight on Abuse: Love Our Children USA, a nonprofit organization working to raise awareness about child abuse, is gathering artwork and poems from abused children across the country for a national public information campaign titled "What It's Like to Live in Their House."Spotlight on Abuse: Love Our Children USA, a nonprofit organization working to raise awareness about child abuse, is gathering artwork and poems from abused children across the country for a national public information campaign titled "What It's Like to Live in Their House."

The New York City-based group is asking educators and school guidance counselors to encourage children living in abusive situations to submit their work for the ongoing campaign.

Organizers say the project will go on tour nationwide in libraries, department stores, malls, and other public places.

"The goal is to create a national awareness and urge people to action," said Ross Ellis, the founder of Love Our Children USA.

—Linda Jacobson ljacobson@epe.org

Vol. 22, Issue 25, Page 13

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