Send this letter to your representative to let him or her know that you want antipoverty programs to be a priority. (Get contact info at

Dear [Insert representative's name here],

As an American parent, I am saddened to know that 22 percent of our country's children live in poverty today--and that 45 percent come from families struggling to survive on less than 200 percent of the federal poverty line. The number of homeless children all across our nation is more than 1 million. And the number of poor residents in the suburbs of our largest metro areas has increased by 64 percent between 2000 and 2011.

Young children living in poverty are more likely to show weaker cognitive and social development, as well as have chronic diseases like asthma and diabetes. They are more likely to go hungry and to experience childhood obesity. They often also live in more dangerous neighborhoods and unstable housing. Poverty inscribes itself on their young brain and body, and the impact lasts a lifetime. We aren't just doing a disservice to today's kids--we're hindering the success of tomorrow's workforce and feeding into a vicious cycle of poverty that will impact generations to come.

In 1998, the United Kingdom vowed to end its rate of childhood poverty (then 26 percent) by 2020. By 2008, it was down to just 12 percent, while our country's rate is roughly 22 percent. We can do better. We can end child poverty. I'm writing today to ask you to support expanded funding for to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program; Head Start; Women, Infants and Children (WIC); and other essential government programs that poor families depend on.

Please join American parents in the fight to end child poverty so all of our children have the chance to grow up healthy, safe, and equipped to be tomorrow's leaders.

Thank you,

Parents Magazine