Imagine a generation of children free from poverty. It is a goal we work toward every day, but realizing our vision is a tall order.
In 2016, the national child poverty rate sat at 18.0%, meaning nearly 1 in 5 children under the age of 18 lived in a household below the federal poverty threshold. In our 14-county diocese, three are well above the national average:
- Adams – 26.7% of children live in poverty
- Allen – 21.1% of children live in poverty
- St. Joseph – 22.4% of children live in poverty
To put this into perspective, a family of four with an infant needs to make almost double the minimum wage per adult to remain self-sufficient:
- Adams – $10.44/hour per adult to be self sufficient
- Allen – $12.52/hour per adult to be self sufficient
- St. Joseph – $12.90/hour per adult to be self sufficient
This is why we have launched Generation Zero – our vision to create the first generation of children free from poverty. We know that a child’s success largely depends upon their family’s ability to meet their needs. At Catholic Charities, we are dedicated to the two-generation approach, meaning: we first help parents create a self-sufficient family, which in turn provides the support the next generation needs to flourish.
In every Catholic Charities program, we work with our clients to uncover their psychological and emotional barriers to progress. During their time with us, we help them conquer their individual challenges so they can achieve long-term self-sufficiency.
For example, just by helping teen moms graduate from high school in our ECHO program, they can increase their earning potential by 37% and save taxpayers an estimated $292,000 in services over each person’s lifetime.
Or consider a human-trafficking victim who is controlled by her dependency on and fear of her captor. As a result, she often returns to her trafficker as many as 11 times before finally breaking free. Our program focuses on helping survivors break these bonds and re-engage with society.
Our local interagency Family Independence Cooperative is working to combat the “cliff effect,” which refers to a family losing its subsidies and experiencing the resulting financial gaps. For families dependent on government benefits, this cooperative addresses those gaps keeping them from self- sufficiency by helping them overcome temporary financial barriers.
Studies have shown that by addressing a family’s challenges today, we will lessen tomorrow’s high- school-dropout rates, homelessness, and unplanned pregnancies. At the same time, job retention and earnings potential rise because we will have already created the next generation of self-sufficient families.
Because of you, Catholic Charities can address these social concerns that affect us every day through our programs. We are all called by the Church to accompany these people as they work towards self- sufficiency by healing their mind, body and soul.
Because of you, we can offer programs and services that create long-term solutions.
Create Generation Zero by pledging today!