CHN’s Human Needs Watch: Tracking Hardship, June 14, 2024


June 14, 2024

June 14, 2024  

The Children’s Week Edition. This week is Children’s Week, with two important sets of events focused on children. First Focus on Children sponsored or co-hosted events aimed at protecting the health, safety, and well-being of America’s children. Topics covered this week included the benefits of expanding the Child Tax Credit, addressing youth homelessness, raising the voices of dads in setting child policy, improving the conditions of children and families in Puerto Rico, and reducing the dangers of lead exposure for children. 

National Black Child Development Week focused on outcomes for ensuring the health and well-being of Black children, guaranteeing clean air and water and nutrition for Black families, and promoting safety in schools, communities, and in the digital world. 

Reading below, you’ll be reminded of the challenges we face in building a better future. You’ll see how federal spending on children rose during the pandemic, but has slipped down again. You will see the problems of child mortality and hunger. You will read about youth homelessness and lead exposure. You will learn how, in the midst of a mental health crisis, some of our youth experience dire shortages of counselors in their schools. 

You’ll see far too many inequities between Black, Latino, and Native American children, and White children. 

We’ve so much to do. 



After increasing to a record high during the pandemic, the share of federal spending allocated to programs that help children has started to fall. The share of spending on children declined to 9.89% by FY2023 – a drop of nearly 16% from the year before. Tweet this.


16 million
1 in 3
3 in 10

The bipartisan Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act, which includes an expanded Child Tax Credit, would benefit 16 million children in families with low incomes during its first year, including 1 in 3 Black and Latino children and 3 in 10 American Indian/Native Alaskan children. The bill overwhelmingly passed the House but is stuck in the Senate. Tweet this.



In 2024, 14 states will provide child tax credits, many of which are targeted to those most in need, and made refundable so that children in families with the lowest incomes are not excluded from the full benefits. Tweet this. 



Child and teen mortality increased by more than 20% between 2019 and 2021, the largest increase in 50 years. Tweet this.


From 6.8%/5m
to 10%/7.3 m 

One in 10 kids in America, or 7.3 million, were “food insecure,” or lacked enough to food to ensure a healthy and active lifestyle in 2022. That is a startling increase of 2.3 million children over the previous year, and rates of food insecurity were significantly higher for households with children that included a Black or Hispanic adult. Tweet this.


4.2 million/

Each year, an estimated 4.2 million youth and young adults experience homelessness in the U.S., 700,000 of whom are unaccompanied minors – meaning they are not a part of a homeless family or accompanied by a parent or guardian.



Non-Hispanic blacks/African Americans have 2.4 times the infant mortality rate as non-Hispanic whites.  



More than half of children under 6 years old in the U.S. had detectable lead levels in their blood, according to a 2021 study published in JANUS Pediatrics. This included 58% of children from predominantly Black zip codes, 56% from predominantly Latino zip codes, and 49% from predominantly White zip codes.


$84 billion 

Reports have shown that if U.S. children born in 2018 had blood lead levels of zero, it would result in an overall benefit of approximately $84 billion during their lifetimes due to increased productivity and decreases in health care, education, and criminal justice costs.


250-1, not
385-1 or 667-1 

The American School Counselors Association recommends a student-to-school counselor ratio of 250-1 – i.e., one school counselor for every 250 students. However, the national average is actually 385-1 – at a time when our country is facing a mental health crisis among K-12 students. What’s more, the ratio is much worse in many areas serving Black, Latino, and Native American children. Arizona, a state with a large Latino and Native American population, had the nation’s worse student-to-school counselor ratio – 667 students for every one school counselor.