Saturday, June 7, 2014

Urban Children: The Endangered Species. By Sophie Heng

"We are the world, we are the children. We are the ones who makes a brighter day, so let's start giving. There's a choice we're making, we're saving our own lives. It's true we'll make a better day, just you and me." Michael Jackson  (Watch it here: We are the World)

Young Students protesting School Closings.
Photo from

I hope you are thinking about how important it is that we as Social Workers, parents, and concerned citizens will advocate to end the massive cuts to programs that provides services to poor families and children. However some critics still have issues with social programs being a social responsibility or a personal responsibility. Let's look at the growth and development of a child born into a poor household and the family have limited resources to sustain a quality education, quality housing, and quality employment. Take the mother and father out of the equation, did the child choose to be born into those conditions? They are going to be conditioned into the environment they grow up in. Take away all the services to help the family achieve personal and financial success and you take the child's ability to grow into a productive member of society. Give a child a chance to better himself with a quality education, a better opportunity to higher learning, adequate health, housing, and nutrition and I'm pretty sure when he grows up he will be able to care for his family without the help of social services. How important is this issue? We are not going to live forever and the success of these children will determine the success of our future because they will become the next generation of citizens and leaders.  


Preventative approaches to help low-income families and their children are cost effective, pro-active, and increases their chances from moving out of poverty and less needy of social services. Policies such as family preservations, SNAP, Affordable Healthcare and Head Starts had the right idea. 

Let's take a look at the The Harlem Children's Zone Model. The idea is holistic in addressing the needs of the child and their families. "If we could move to a place of empathy, identifying with children because we have all been children, we might create different ways of caring for children and their families. If an empathetic stance is taken, we would ask what all children need to ensure well-being, and create policies to fulfill that need... Preventing social problems not only alleviates immediate suffering but may help to solve the problems entirely." Social Welfare Policy and Social Programs - Segal (pg. 305)

Stay inspired, Sophie. 


  1. This is the most amazing and inspiring blog i have read thus far. I agree with you that there should be more spending on preserving human life instead of tearing it down. The signal that the government sends by building more prisons and closing more and more schools everyday is very sad. At the rate we are going the there will never be any upward mobility for our urban children.

    1. Thank you Edwina! I appreciate your support and comment. I love the term upward mobility.

  2. Go Sophie and Edwina! I definitely agree that we need to be building up the children in our communities and creating policies that will help them and not harm them. Sophie, I liked how you said that we should look at the situation by taking away the parents and just looking at the child or children. I think a lot of public opinion is based on the perception of the adults receiving welfare and what they may or may not be doing with those resources. By taking the parents out of the picture, people can start to take an unbiased look at the situation: that there are millions of kids in this country without enough shelter, nourishment, clothes, and education. Too often the focus is on what people are doing wrong. I think it's time the focus changes to ask what MORE can we be doing for these children?

    1. Thank you Laura. The critics will then start debating about are they supposed to be responsible for other people's kids? Yes, we all have to stop focusing on what a few does wrong and think about the masses that cannot control their living environment and can't fend for themselves. They didn't choose their lives! (I get a little passionate when we talk about children)
      A lot of policies have to change to protect the most vulnerable and I hope we all can start making that happen!