As the world’s third-most-populated country, the United States is considered one of its most developed and powerful. But the U.S. is first among the world’s 25 richest countries in its percentage of children living in poverty. This is especially true for minority children living in rural communities, where child poverty rates are between 40 and 70 percent. It’s a harsh reality: One in every five American children lives in poverty.
Over the past few years ChildFund has shifted its efforts from basic service provision to a community-based engagement and empowerment approach with a focus on youth agency. We also recognize the potential in creating positive change for children through restoring cultural values and traditions unique to each of the communities where we work.
We partner with community-based organizations in North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Texas, addressing the specific needs of each area.
ChildFund has served children in the U.S. since 1952.
Poverty in the U.S.
Our experience tells us that for many Native American, African American and Hispanic children (where ChildFund focuses its efforts), conditions can rival those of developing countries: high rates of unemployment and underemployment, dependence upon government assistance, lack of access to quality education and positive activities, and unstable home environments.
All of these conditions lead children to drop out, turn off and fade away from reaching their full potential and becoming happy, healthy, productive young adults who can contribute to their communities.
“We sleep in the back of our pickup truck – my brother, my sister, my mom and dad and me,” says one boy, age 11, in the Great Plains region of the U.S. .
Education and Development
ChildFund works to improve early childhood development by supporting cognitive, emotional, social and physical growth through both home- and center-based programs. We also provide mentoring, support and guidance to parents and primary caregivers (especially teen parents and grandparents). We promote positive interactions with young children for healthy development.
Through our local partners, we provide safe and constructive environments through after-school and summer enrichment programs where children and youth engage in educational, social and recreational enrichment activities. We help reconnecting children and youth to traditional cultural values, arts and crafts through direct participation and visiting artists. This strengthens children’s cultural identity, confidence and tolerance for others.
We offer youth the opportunity to have their voices heard and take responsibility in giving back to their communities.