Every day matters for young children during the critical early years of brain and body growth. Even brief deprivation for infants and toddlers creates negative short and long term health consequences. With each passing day that the US government is shut down, as federal workers and contractors go without pay, and funding for food and housing assistance dwindles, we grow more and more concerned for the health of our patients and children across this country. As pediatricians and public health researchers, we know that when families are unable to afford food, housing, and other basic needs the health of young children and their families suffers.
Sherita Mouzon has penned an open letter discussing her experiences of discrimination growing up in North Philadelphia.
The violent treatment of Jazmine Headley and her 18-month-old son in a county assistance office in New York City exemplifies everything that is wrong with the way public-assistance programs work in the United States. It is emblematic of how our government treats low-income women and children of color—as if their every move must be controlled, surveilled, and penalized.