Poverty Matters for Children’s Well-being, but Good Policy Can Help

In the following sections, we first present an overview of the research on the many pathways through which poverty affects children’s development. We then summarize the effects of these pervasive disadvantages on children’s developmental outcomes. Finally, in light of the structural and societal roots of child poverty and the negative consequences associated with it, we conclude with a brief discussion of how social policy solutions can have considerable return on investment—largely through reduced downstream costs borne by our school, health care, child welfare, and juvenile justice systems in addressing the impact of poverty on children’s short- and long-term outcomes.