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AAP: Type and Duration of Poverty Affects Children’s School Readiness and Childhood Outcomes

(U.S.S) – The type of poverty children are born into and how long they remain in that situation has an impact on early childhood outcomes, including school readiness.

Overall, children born into poverty experience more difficulty reaching school readiness markers. But those who transition out of poverty by age 2, and those living with neighborhood poverty rather than household poverty, are more likely to reach school readiness markers.

Authors of a study in the June 2019 issue of Pediatrics, “Poverty and Early Childhood Outcomes,” (published online May 20) report these conclusions after using a database to follow more than 46,000 children born in Manitoba, Canada.

They defined poverty as those receiving welfare and those living in low-income neighborhoods. Researchers looked for early childhood outcomes for school readiness, mental health status, asthma, and injuries.

They found that children growing up in household poverty often have a home environment that is less supportive of school readiness. The authors state that reasons for less support in the environment could be that mothers living in household poverty are more like to experience increased drug/alcohol use, low maternal education, and social isolation.

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Researchers conclude that supporting families receiving welfare to aid them in transitioning out of poverty while a child is still very young could bring the greatest benefits to those families.

Editor’s note: A solicited commentary, “What Canada Can Teach Us About Addressing Childhood Poverty” will also be published in this issue of Pediatrics.

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