Joblessness takes its toll on affected children

A new study says help for kids with unemployed parents often falls through the cracks, with long-term financial, emotional and academic consequences.

By Bruce Kennedy Mar 26, 2013 5:52PM

Being unemployed or underemployed can be scary enough from an adult perspective -- but how does it affect children?

An estimated 6.2 million children had unemployed parents last year. But a new study says that number rises to 12.1 million, or one in six children, when you factor in parental underemployment.

The study, authored by the Urban Institute and released on Tuesday by the bipartisan children advocacy group First Focus, looked at some federal initiatives meant to help unemployed or low-income families -- and found those benefits were failing to reach the affected children.

According to the report, unemployment insurance reaches only about one-third of children with at least one jobless parent. At the same time, 29% of kids with unemployed parents received help from a federal food or cash assistance program -- although their families did not receive unemployment insurance. And 35% of children affected by parental unemployment don't receive any of these benefits.

The study also found the number of families with long-term jobless issues, and who were coming to the end of their unemployment benefits, had tripled compared to pre-recession levels. Rates of poverty, meanwhile, were almost three times higher among parents who remained out of work for six months or longer.

There's an emotional and economic toll on children affected by joblessness. Along with the pressures a lack of work places on the entire family, the study says family unemployment “has a marked impact on children, including documented lower math scores, poorer school attendance, higher risk of grade repetition and suspension/expulsion.”

What would be most helpful for many affected children, the study concludes, is a stronger economic recovery. That would not only help out-of-work parents find jobs, but also fund programs to give those parents the additional skills and transitional employment needed to get them back into the workplace.

More on moneyNOW

Mar 26, 2013 10:33PM
Excuse me, but everything is GREAT and all we need to worry about are social issues!    

Don't forget, if you are unemployed, you should blame the rich, not the government and only worry about small groups of people with LOUD RICH FRIENDS!!!!!

Maybe the Obama family will appear on TV soon and so a sit com so your stressed out children will forget their worries.
Mar 26, 2013 10:25PM

What would be most helpful for many affected children?  a President who would do something about it.!

What we are seeing here is a President that does not believe in American Exceptionalism and certainly not in an individual creating wealth for himself. Why? Factually, he did not spend his early years in the US. Was educated overseas when young. Did not know people who worked for a living, did not know any inventors, likely did not know about Henry Ford and many others who had an Idea and made it happen. Likely never took American History, the real version; Wonder if he has even been to Ford's Museum? He has gone to Public Universities, Paid for by Tax Payers and donors, Never had a real job of any kind other than being a mouthpiece for certain causes which we now realize are mostly based on the concept of Wealth flowing FROM the government. Been a constitutional Law Professor,paid by taxpayers, and does not like the limits placed on government by our Constitution. Listened to years of hate filled sermons directed at America. It is a miracle he is not worse.

While technically a citizen, with a flawed life experience in America and education, he has missed the roots of America's Greatness: Individualism.


Mar 27, 2013 2:52PM
these are on both best and worst lists, well  actually all the lists ! yo ,   what's sup !
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