Parental Employment and Children’s Security
The fact that Hispanic children are over three times more likely than non-Hispanic white children to have no health-care coverage serves as powerful testimony to the real consequences of their parent’s employment vulnerability. For all groups, the lack of health insurance reduces access to care and undermines health (Children’s Defense Fund 2006; Institute of Medicine 2001). The lack of health insurance, though, is only part of a package of vulnerabilities that the children of parents with low incomes and no employment benefits face. Poor and minority children are often trapped in unsafe and unhealthy neighborhoods, they suffer malnutrition in the form of diets that are high in fat, carbohydrates, and calories, and they are denied the educational opportunities that come with good schools and interaction with educationally successful peers. For children in poor neighborhoods, the streets and gang life often provide the emotional and physical security that their parents cannot provide. As we elaborate in this chapter, the long-term implications are serious for the children, their families, and for society at large.