According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, there are over 13 million American children living in poverty, and this number is climbing. With winter months upon us parents may be struggling to make ends meet and may be faced with a difficult decision: heat their house or feed their children. In addition to food and shelter, parents of young children also need to focus on early childhood development. This is a crucial stage of life in terms of a child’s physical, intellectual, emotional and social development. A high proportion of learning takes place from birth to age six, so it is important that children receive high quality learning experiences during this time.
Benefits.gov wants you to be aware of the many established organizations that are equipped to assist and provide long term nourishment, medical assistance, and education to children in need.
The National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs make nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free meals available to school children each school day. Over 92,000 schools offer lunches at school, and nearly 70,000 schools offer breakfast at school. School breakfasts and lunches meet the dietary guidelines for Americans and federal nutrition standards. Some schools offer after school snacks to children in school care programs. For more information, visit the National School Breakfast and Lunch Program page.
The Head Start program (for children ages 3-5) and Early Head Start program (for pregnant women, infants, and toddlers) promote school readiness for children in low-income families by providing comprehensive educational, health, nutritional and social services. Parents play a large role in these programs, both as primary educators of their children and as participants in administering the programs locally. The Head Start and Early Head Start programs provide pre-literacy and literacy experiences in a multi-cultural environment. Parents are also provided social services, including assistance with child-care. Services are also available to migrant and seasonal farm-worker families. To learn more, visit the Head Start and Early Head Start Program page.
The Special Milk Program provides milk to children in schools and other institutions that do not participate in other federal meal services. This program reimburses schools and other institutions for milk served. For more information, visit the Special Milk Program Page.
Benefits.gov encourages you to take the Benefit Finder questionnaire to determine which other benefits your child may be eligible for.