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Who do you help first: the parent or child?

My name is Lyndell Polanco, and I am in my final semester in the MPA Program where I am working on the Social Mobility Capstone. As part of our individualized contributions, our research includes a narrative of the current landscape of social and economic mobility, an awareness of the triggers which may lead to a less favorable economic condition, and recommended actions for potential solutions.

The 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) notes an Adverse Child Experience (ACE) as economic hardship combined with the separation of parents as a life event with lasting negative effects. And it is here that I question what came first: the chicken or the egg? Meaning, when addressing the family structure—and in using the analogy of a lifecycle—at which point in time is the assistance most impactful: as a child or as an adult.

Notwithstanding the attention paid to early childhood education, material components of an improved economic condition do not end when the child reaches the age of 18. Rather, I argue it is at this point that the individual is more susceptible to failure should the appropriate mechanisms, including higher education, job training, and encouragement not exist.

For how beneficial is it to only argue for programs for early childhood, when the parents are unable to effectively provide for the family? Which is more effective as a control in preventing the perpetual low socio-economic bracket, thus increasing the mobility one generation at a time? These questions open the door to additional questions as we strive towards a well-rounded report.


Published On: March 1, 2018 |
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