The executive summary of the National Center for Children in Poverty's 2000 report finds several important developments since the mid-1990s that have critical implications for young children and their families. The survey finds the number of working mothers continues to increase, with 59 percent of mothers with infants under one year working outside the home in full- and part-time jobs. Seventy-three percent of mothers with children over the age of one year held some job, and fifty-two percent were full-time workers. The 1996 welfare reform act has played a key role in this increase, however the loss of benefits and low wages continues to keep many families with younger children in poverty. The report finds 20 percent of children living below the poverty line, despite unprecedented economic prosperity in the nation. While poverty rates hit records lows in 1999, four million children under the age of six lived in poverty and 40 percent lived in homes with incomes 200 times the federal poverty line or lower. State are addressing these problems through child development and family support programs, developing coordinated systems of care for children, parents an families, and efforts to increase the level of disposable income in poor families through state income tax cuts, refundable tax credits, and minimum wage hikes. The report provides detailed information on family support and child development efforts in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia These include programs for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, initiatives to better prepare children for school, and early childhood development strategies. 18 references, 2 tables, 1 map.
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