If we want to reduce poverty, we need to focus our energies on changing the trajectory for young children - and break the cycle so that they don’t become trapped in poverty for life, and in turn, raise children in poverty.
So what should we as a society do to bring about change?
1.) Early childhood education can break the cycle of poverty
Studies have demonstrated that children from low-income families who attend full-time, high-quality educational programs from infancy through age 5, have higher cognitive test scores than their peers who don’t have access to that education, are more likely to graduate from high school and college, hold a job, have higher earnings, and stay away from crime. This is why the first five years are so important to breaking the cycle of poverty.
2.) Support parents with a dual-generation approach to raise "prepared" children
In addition to providing educational opportunities to children at an early age, it is essential to support parents in transforming their family situation. In what is called a “dual-generation” approach, high-quality early childhood education is combined with services to parents. Coordinated by case managers, services include parenting training, financial literacy, employment services, debt management, and a number of other resources to help them positively impact their family’s socio-economic status and overall stability and transcend poverty.
How we deploy our dual-generation approach
Head Start - 42 Head Start classrooms at seven locations across Baltimore City, which enroll 800 low-income children each year
Camp Discovery - provides summer camp for enrolled Head Start students to help curb summer learning loss
Family Shelters - provide short-term housing for families of all compositions. SVDP currently operates Sarah's Hope on Mount Street in Baltimore City; the Hannah More shelter in Reisterstown, MD; and Innterim House in Pikesville, MD.
Camp St. Vincent - is an 8-week summer camp exclusively for homeless children. It is specifically designed to reduce the impact of homelessness on their academic, social, and emotional development.