Poverty Risk Factors and Childhood Development - Essay Example

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All of the studies briefly presented in this paper suggest that the anti-poverty programs as well as programs such as Head Start and No Child Left Behind, do not take sufficiently take into consideration the social and cultural consequences of poverty and instead focus on the economic and biological factors. …
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Poverty Risk Factors and Childhood Development
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"Poverty Risk Factors and Childhood Development"

The World Bank reports that 2.7 billion people live in moderate or extreme poverty. The conditions that poverty generates are intergenerational and devastating. Inadequate access to health care, protective services, education or a nutritional diet feeds a cycle of abject oppression. This is cycle of oppression is often most clearly manifested in children, as their developmental tracks are so sensitive to environmental factors. In the United States alone it is estimated that 21.9% of children live below the poverty line. The environmental risk factors that poverty engenders are numerous and multi-faceted. In order to parse out the major contributing risk factors to child developmental and psychopathological issues, a more narrow analysis of particular manifestations of poverty must be considered. To this end, this paper will briefly engage the results of some studies which attempt to localize particular contributing factors that are determinant in the mental development of children. These studies are carefully to distinguish the biological factors that are often associated with families in low-income situations, such as low-birth weight and the social and cultural factors that exist. The results of the studies show to some degree of uniformity that while severe child developmental and psychological issues are the result of biological factors, many more moderate issues are in fact determined by the social and cultural consequences of poverty. Read More
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