Richmond is always proud to boast when we make it to the top of a list. Our river, restaurants, and business climate have topped those lists in recent years. But there is one list that Richmond tops that we should be paying much more attention to — Richmond’s child poverty rate of 39% is the 2 highest in the state of Virginia. Compared to neighboring cities, Richmond’s child poverty rate actually tops Baltimore, Philly and Washington, DC.  This is one list where we should not be proud that we rank at the top.
As a result, Family Lifeline hosted local candidates in our office for conversations around opportunities for policy change in Richmond that would improve the lives of children and families living in poverty. Held in partnership with Greater Richmond SCAN, the event was geared specifically to educate the candidates and invitations were extended to all mayoral, school board, and city council candidates. Participants at the event last week included Agelasto, Grimes, Baliles, Berry, Robertson, Marsh-Carter, Larson, Hardiman, Barlow, and Junes. Conducted in partnership with Is It Good 4 Kids RVA?, a coalition of non-profit, non-partisan partners, the event provided candidates with more information about the role local decision-makers can play in shaping policy to impact poverty, including prevention and trauma-informed approaches.
Much of the impact of poverty on a child can be prevented with supportive families and nurturing parents. Yet when families are stressed to meet their basic needs they often lack their own support systems that allow them to focus on nurturing experiences for their children. The event highlighted several programs that help support parents in their role as their child’s first teacher, implementing trauma-informed approaches, and family focused systems. In particular candidates learned more about the early childhood parent education and mentoring programs at Family Lifeline as well as the parent support and resilience work of Greater Richmond SCAN.
Coalition Members include ChildSavers, Family Lifeline, Greater Richmond SCAN, NextUp RVA, Peter Paul Development Center, Richmond Education Association, Richmond Forward, Robins Foundation, The Commonwealth Institute, United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg, and Voices for Virginia’s Children.
See what the mayoral candidates said about child poverty in Richmond.