Date of Submission
In comparison to the developing countries, the developed countries such as United States of America have a much lower degree of poverty levels. For instance, citizens in the U.S. tend not to starve to death as in the case of citizens in most developing countries, but they do go hungry. They might have access to education, clean water, and healthcare, but they are often homeless and are likely to die much younger than their fellow citizens. The bottom line, however, is that poverty is a worldwide social problem affecting each and every country or state. (Danziger & Cancian, 2009) said that poverty is defined by the United Nations as a denial of choices and opportunities, that is, an inability of individuals to have the basic capacity of effectively participating in the society,
According to the official report in 2014, 46.7 million people were living in poverty in the U.S. making it a 14.8 percent poverty rate. Today, the statistics is not that different with unemployment and high level of dependency being the main causes of poverty. To reduce this poverty level, certain policies have been put in place by major institutional based agencies such as the Non-Governmental Organization and other social welfare organizations, (Benefits.Gov, 2015) states that the U.S. state government has also contributed greatly in the first against poverty in the country.
The current policies on poverty include the following:
1. Promoting early childhood development: this involves expanding preschool access for disadvantaged children. The policy proposes establishment of high-quality preschools programs in parts of the country and in states that lack one, improvement of the preschool programs in localities and states that have poor quality ones and expanded access of the preschool programs in localities and states where quality preschool programs already exist, (Bachrach & Baratz, 1970), mentions that promotions of early childhood development also include reduction of unintended pregnancies for low-income women by encouraging more young women to use long-lasting reversible contraceptives.
2. Supporting disadvantaged youth: this is done by designing effective mentoring programs for disadvantaged youths. Big Brothers Big Sisters is a good example of this policy. It proposes the expanding of community-based mentoring programs that are govern by a set of rules for the well-being of the concerned youths in the program, (US welfare, 2015) asserts that the policy also proposes the expansion of summer employment to these disadvantaged youths through the distribution of federal grants to states for municipalities to provide the mentioned summer employment.
3. Building skills: involves the expanding of apprenticeship opportunities in the United States. This policy proposes that access to registered apprenticeship programs should be expanded by taking up various marketing initiatives, building on the existing youth apprenticeship programs and designating occupational standards. All these initiatives should be carried out at both federal and state level. Building on skills policy also proposes the provision of skills to disadvantaged workers to enable them to succeed in the labor market. This should be done by increasing funding for training programs targeting the low-skilled workers in accordance to the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).
Improvement of the safety net and work support: this involves the support of low-skilled workers by providing them with refundable child-care credits which are incorporated into their income. The child-care credit will be determined by the income of the care giver or the parent, the age of the child in question and the utilization of the licensed care facilities. In short, the policy proposes the conversion of the federal Child and Dependent Care credit, from a nonrefundable tax credit to a refundable one. This policy also encourages the setting up of thoughtful minimum wage policy both at the state and local level. In setting up the wage rate, local costs, and minimum wage should be highly considered and that the minimum wage should be indexed for inflation as suggested by (Atkinson, 1998). The above policies designed to address the poverty level and conditions in the state are being conducted in the above specified manner to ensure that every individual at the risk of being a victim of poverty in the country is catered for and provided a sought of a shield to help them escape the impending danger of languishing in poverty. The vulnerable groups such as the children, women, and the youths are given the top priorities in the fight against poverty in the state.
The above policies are hindered by a number of challenges making them ineffective. The challenges arise either from the authorized individuals responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the progress or by the vulnerable groups themselves who are subject to the poverty conditions. The establishment of preschool programs is faced by the challenge of corrupt officials who instead of using the disbursed fund as intended, they pocket a proportion of the fund to satisfy their financial interest. Due to the existence of such irresponsible leaders and officials, the establishment of the needed preschool for the development of children is done with poor quality materials and unqualified personnel thus resulting to poor-quality preschool. Reduction of unintended pregnancies is carried out to reduce the number of abortion or terminated pregnancies in the country. The above policy proposes the use of long-lasting contraceptives by the young women so as to tackle that problem, but some women hold some misled opinions about these contraceptives as seen from the DHS (2015). These opinions that are often myths and misconceptions, discourage the young women to use them thus leading to a large number of unintended pregnancies born to poor or low-income women or at worst case scenario, abortion.
The policy that proposes support to the youths who are disadvantaged has the youths as the base of the policy yet the natures of most youths are known. These disadvantaged youths are most often than not products of struggle in the childhood development and hence are subject to rebelliousness. Coordinating such youths becomes such a great challenge to the authorized officials as most of them just desire their independency free of control from anybody. They end up engaging themselves in criminal activities placing themselves in the wrong side of the law and spending some of their youthful years in either juvenile or adult correctional centers for those above 18 years. The federal grant offered to municipalities for the success of youth employment during the summer is often swindled by the corrupt leaders who have no social welfare interest at heart thus subjecting the disadvantaged youths to poverty and undesired vices that accompany idleness.
The building of skills for the low-skilled workforce is also faced by the same challenge of corruption as the authorized officials channel a much lower amount than the one disbursed to the training programs targeted for the low-skilled workers in the state. The policy is designed to cater for the registered apprenticeship only leaving out the unregistered ones who end up missing out on a lot of opportunities. “The child-care support to the low-skilled workers is faced with great resistance due to lack of information and lack of understanding of the refundable nature of this policy,” (Denziger &Cancian, 2009). Some view it as being expensive while others think of it as a waste of resources and a way of enriching other individuals. Families with a relatively larger number of children find very heavy on them and, therefore, opt not to take it up for their children.
With the above challenges facing the current policies, it becomes a necessity find alternative policies or better still enhancement of the existing policies so as to make progress in the war against poverty in the state. “A policy that subjects the corrupt officials to penalties should be put in place so as to enable the running of every other policy since each policy involves the funding of a particular project or program,” (Foster, Greer & Thorbecke, 1984). The state should ensure that the vulnerable group in question is well informed about the policy in place; the benefits in the policy, the challenges and the consequence of missing out in the set policy. The groups should be put under serious mentoring programs to ensure that the policy in place is not just a waste of time to them but a beneficiary element that will be passed from generation to generation. (Sportlight on Poverty, 2015) suggests that this is the only way to ensure that the policy not only benefits the current population but also the future generation hence effective poverty eradication within the state.
Penalties to the corrupt officials: As earlier mentioned, every policy involves some amount of money that will either help in the establishment process or assist in the progress of the already existing establishment. Therefore, if measures are not well taken on the corrupt officials, the effort in the reduction of poverty levels in the state will be all in vain as all disbursed fund will end up in the pockets of a few individuals to the disadvantage of the vulnerable groups. Any evidenced corrupt leader or official should, therefore, suffer punishment set by the law. This can be easily done by passing the appropriate bill in the state’s parliament. Relevant research on the vulnerable groups: Before the setting of a given policy, thorough and relevant research should be carried out on the group in question so as to ascertain which policy suits the particular group in question. This policy on relevant research will make it much easier for the implementing committee to convince the vulnerable group to participate in the subsequent policy through taking them through the benefits of engaging in the policy and the consequence of missing out in the policy.
Support to the youths in correctional facilities: The policy for supporting disadvantaged youths should not be limited to the willing and free youths only but also to the detained youths. Being part of a criminal activity should not automatically label one a criminal since that individual has been offered the opportunity of changing their ways. Therefore, the state should take advantage of such a situation and mentor the many youths in the juvenile and other correctional facilities within the state. Teachings and skills on how to earn an income and succeed in the labor market when they attain freedom should be offered not only to those detained youths but all detainees in the state. These will reduce the dependency level in the state in cases where these detainees are freed.
The current policies on poverty reduction maybe facing some challenges in the fight against poverty but this does not make those policies wrong rather, various measures and complimenting policies should be put in place to ensure the success of the set objective. The youth, women, children and low-skilled workers who make up the large constituent of the poor population should also participate in this fight and not just wait for all things to be done for them even in cases where they have the capacity of carrying out the activities on their own. Efforts should be put in empowering this population rather than making then incapacitated.
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