A correlation between children living in poverty and higher rates of child maltreatment has been documented across the U.S., according to data from the Child Welfare Information Gateway (Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services), the National Bureau of Economic Research, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The lack of access to information and resources for a family living in poverty often results in the higher likelihood of a CPS referral. While recognizing that poverty is a risk factor, it is not the same thing as neglect.
“Something’s going on,” said D., in reference to a report being made and transmitted to CPS. “We need to ask ourselves, what can we do, how can get that family to their better place?”
“CPS should be considered intervention, not punishment,” continued D. “What can we do as a community to make sure neglect doesn’t happen again? Or better yet, what can we do to help a family in need, before it reaches the level of neglect?”
The Rochester – Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI) is a coalition of people in the community working to reduce poverty. RMAPI focuses on two critical areas in their work: workforce development and the accessibility and affordability of basic needs.
RMAPI is coordinating a Participatory Budgeting process that will allow members of the community to vote on how to spend $200,000 to fund resident-submitted projects that address poverty and build neighborhoods. Participatory Budgeting aims to strengthen neighborhoods while engaging residents in direct democracy, with a specific focus on reaching groups that have traditionally been marginalized.