In times when we are inundated with the idea that our nation’s political parties are complete opposites, our differences irreconcilable, and that compromising means sacrificing what we most believe in, it is encouraging to know that bipartisan agreement does exist when it comes to the welfare of our children. A First Focus Campaign for Children poll, conducted by Lake Research Partners on Election Day 2012, found a “strong, bipartisan majority of voters support federal leadership on a wide range of children’s issues… Voters hold a strong pro-children agenda across a number of dimensions.”
Key findings of the poll include:
- Majorities across all political and demographic lines believe the President and Congress should work to cut childhood poverty rates in half over the next ten years.
- Over three in four voters agree with creating a bipartisan commission to recommend solutions to the problems facing children today.
- Voters are receptive to the idea of the President establishing an official budget that details spending on children.
(For more details about the findings of this poll, click here.)
An Official Children’s Budget… what’s that?
A children’s budget would allow for “a deliberate and full accounting of all the money spent on and for children.” As First Focus explains in their fact sheet, determining how much the federal government invests in children is currently extremely difficult because “such spending is spread out over many departments and dozens of bureaus.” An Official Children’s Budget would “communicate a clear picture of the federal investment in America’s young people” by compiling information about all sources of funding for children’s programs.
The idea of an Official Children’s Budget is an excellent example of a change in policy that can lead the way to significant improvements in the lives of children by providing greater transparency for parents, families, concerned citizens, and policymakers alike. As our own state seeks ways to improve early childhood systems for children and families in the face of severe economic challenges, the idea of a children’s budget offers an insightful way to use and improve existing resources.
As First Focus points out, “with the alarming increases in child poverty, doing better for our children tomorrow starts with knowing how we’re doing today.” While we may not yet have a straightforward understanding of how much or little our nation invests in children, we know one thing is clear: support for a pro-children agenda breaks party lines, no deadlocks or sacrificial compromises necessary.