Making Vulnerable Children a Greater Priority in the 2012 Election
"Out of the Spotlight" (OOTS) Posting for October 2, 2012
With the presidential debates getting underway this week, many advocacy organizations and individuals across the country are calling for a greater focus on the problems facing America’s youngest and most vulnerable. The latest Census data reveal that children are the poorest of any age group in this country, with one in five living in poverty in 2011.
Despite these disturbing numbers, up until now scant attention has been paid to the problem by the candidates or the media. According to a recent study by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, only .2% of the campaign news coverage has addressed poverty in a substantive way.
There is little question that the problems facing vulnerable children resonate strongly with voters. In a nationwide Public Opinion Strategies poll on behalf of First Focus Campaign for Children, 82 percent of American adults say that the candidates’ positions on child well-being will affect their vote and 63 percent say both candidates are not paying enough attention to children’s issues in the campaign. Broadly, the focus on low-income families has been gaining more attention in recent weeks, triggered in large part by Governor Romney’s statements about “the 47 percent.”
Several organizations are working to keep that momentum going. In September, the Half in Ten campaign and Every Child Matters launched an online movement to elevate poverty, particularly child poverty, as an issue in the media and raise awareness about how to reduce it. Using Twitter and the #TalkPoverty hashtag (an effort first spawned by Greg Kaufmann of The Nation), individuals can ask debate moderators to generate questions about poverty during each of the presidential and vice presidential debates, particularly how each candidate plans to address child well-being in their first 100 days in office. Half in Ten’s website also provides sample tweets, statistics and other useful information to those interested in participating in the online conversation.
With this week’s presidential debate solely focused on domestic issues, any effort to get each candidate to #TalkPoverty will help ensure children are a policy priority in 2013.
Posted by Tamanna
Here at Out of the Spotlight, we offer a behind-the-scenes look at the latest news and information essential to anyone working to fight poverty. From key political appointees to clashes over policy, we cover the news that doesn't always make the evening news. Check out Out of the Spotlight for our take on the twists and turns of the latest political developments and their impact on poverty reduction. Topics and ideas are welcome! Just contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com