The timing of childhood poverty is critical, and intervention must be directed toward early childhood, specifically. From the prenatal period through the first six years of life, most human brain growth takes place (Loughan and Perna). Early childhood poverty places the person at high risk for restricted development. Poverty is a primary factor that negatively impacts optimal brain functioning, resulting in cognitive deficits and substantially reduced academic readiness in preschool age children (Smith, Brooks-Gunn and Klebanov). Poor children continue to fall behind in academic achievement, being twice as likely to repeat a grade, be diagnosed with a learning disability, be suspended or expelled, and become a high school drop-out (Loughan and Perna). Poor children grow up to be less educated, have more unemployment, and earn less (Duncan and Magnuson 23). Research now indicates that prenatal and early childhood poverty is correlated with negative effects even four decades later (Duncan and Magnuson 24). The risk is greatly elevated when the child suffers from neglect. There is an inverse correlation between income and the likelihood of child neglect (Sedlak and Broadhurst). Poverty leads to neglect because of a lack of material resources, mental well-being challenges faced by the parents, adverse family coping skills, single parent households, and other factors (Loughan and Perna). Higher income parents tend to have more positive interactions with children, while low income parents tend to be more punitive.
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3 pages (750 words)Research Paper
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