Kansas kids face a poverty emergency.

Some 103,000 children in the state live at the poverty line or below. That means roughly $21,000 a year for a family of three people. More than 40,000 children in the state live in deep poverty, in which a family of three makes less than $11,000 a year.

These children do not have enough to eat. These children do not have secure housing. These children do not have access to an array of services that so many Kansans take for granted. And these children are members of communities across the state — from the biggest cities to the smallest rural towns.

We can do better for these kids.

Restoring access to needed programs

In 2015, Kansas became a model for harsh restrictions to work and family support programs, harming children and families in the process. The “HOPE” Act shortened cash assistance eligibility, increased work requirements for mothers of infants, and placed unnecessary restrictions on where families can spend their much-needed cash assistance. The legislation kicked thousands of Kansans off welfare rolls, including more than 1,000 children since January 2016.

Kansas policymakers can strengthen our state in the following ways:

  • Repeal policies that prevent families who earn very little money from qualifying for programs designed to help them make ends meet.
  • Ensure cash assistance serves the youngest Kansans by repealing work requirements that discourage pregnant mothers and mothers with infants from participating in programs.
  • Lift unnecessary barriers to spending cash assistance.
  • Focus federal funds from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) on the core functions of the programs.

Click here to read KAC’s brochure about poverty in Kansas.
Click here to read our column on the poverty emergency.
Click here to read our report on the Safety Net.
Click here to read our policy brief on the Safety Net.
Click here to read our policy brief on the HOPE Act.
Click here to view an infographic about the Safety Net.
Click here to view an infographic about the importance of high-quality child care.