n Is Growing Up Poor OK? | Fair Start Movement

Recently a reader left this comment on our Facebook post about Hilaria Baldwin.

We would like to respond. Firstly, let’s not sugarcoat poverty.  

41% of U.S. kids are born in or near poverty. Yes, children can be loved and have happy memories. But don’t children also deserve a minimum standard of well-being? Is it ok that children live with hunger, poor health, unsafe neighborhoods, less attention from parents who have to work multiple low wage jobs, and numerous other harms? 

health inequality

Being born poor also means that children do not develop at the same level as their non-poor peers. An unlevel playing field sets them up for a lifetime of struggling, from performance in school to low wage work as adults. Don’t kids deserve better? Shouldn’t they get a fair start?

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Why not help parents delay parenthood until they’re ready so that they can pursue higher education and financial stability? When parents delay parenthood, they give their kids a better chance for better outcomes in health, emotional development, and academic achievement. Decades of research indicates this. 

But readiness is not only about income. Parents that have abused children in the past and are likely to again are not ready to have more. Wealthy would-be parents may not be ready if they are not prepared to give their kids the time, love, attention, or emotional and familial stability that they need. To the extent that income correlates with political influence, that factors into giving a kids a Fair Start in developing democracies.

Family planning is the most effective way to reduce poverty and inequality. Early interventions are up to 13 times more effective than after the fact, reactive approaches. Parents who choose to have smaller families – only one or two kids, are able to invest more time and resources in each child, setting them up for great success throughout their lifetimes.

Imagine a family planning model that considers what future children want instead of only looking at the perspective of would-be parents. When we do that, the premise of the comment totally changes. Children have a right to a fair start in life, and thus have a right to resources to get that fair start. Communities and governments have a duty to provide that through efforts like Guaranteed Minimum Income tied to family planning. Parents can help give them a fair start by delaying parenthood and having smaller families.

Children and parents do better when parents wait, and have smaller families. It is a win-win. Family planning investments and frameworks like the Fair Start Model make this possible. 

With regards to the eugenics assertion, eugenics are what we get without the Fair Start model. Like the development of genetically-edited babies in China and now Russia. Unlike the current isolation model of family planning which allows this, the Fair Start model prevents both eugenic and euphenic manipulation because it ensures parents the right to have kids.

Still have questions? Read our deep dive into the Fair Start family planning model, then ask us!

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