We often hear about Utah’s stellar economy and world-class workforce as a matter of fact these days, but despite these strengths the Beehive State is not without it’s challenges. Though our poverty rate is comparably low, thousands of Utah families find themselves caught in a cycle of intergenerational poverty - which creates barriers to this economic success.
The state legislature recognized the lost human capital that put the economic futures of families and our state at risk, and created the Intergenerational Poverty Mitigation Act in 2012, then expanded it in 2013.
This new law requires the Department of Workforce Services to combine forces with other agencies through the creation of the Intergenerational Welfare Reform Commission. The goal is to address the Utah children at risk of living in poverty as adults by focusing on early childhood development, education, economic stability, and health.
If a child’s early development is hampered by a difficult home environment, their academic achievement is likely to suffer as they go through school. Without a solid education, their odds of achieving economic stability as adults is much lower. All of these factors together can negatively affect the overall health and stability of impoverished families.
We’ve identified these key areas as having a strong relationship with intergenerational poverty, and by enacting policies in each area, we hope to empower Utah families to break the cycle of poverty.
In the coming months look for additional materials on each of these areas, and the State’s steps to address them.