Food stamps, federally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), helps Colorado families put food on the table. But we know that it accomplishes much more than that. Such reinforcement is improving our children’s futures.
Research increasingly shows that food stamps can ward against the long-term effects on children of experiencing poverty, abuse or neglect, parental substance abuse or mental illness, and exposure to violence—events that can take a toll on their well-being as adults. According to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, food stamps helps form a strong foundation of health and well-being for low-income children by lifting millions of families out of poverty, improving food security, and helping improve health and academic achievement with long-lasting consequences.
Food assistance delivers more nutrition assistance to low-income children than any other program. In 2016 food stamps will help about 20 million children each month—about one in four U.S. children—while providing about $30 billion in nutrition benefits for children over the course of the year. In Colorado, SNAP helps about 245,000 children each month, or nearly 1 in 5 of our state’s kids.
Food stamp benefits are modest, but they’re well-targeted to the families that need them the most. That’s one reason why food stamps help lift more children out of deep poverty than any other government assistance program. In fact, much of the program’s success can be attributed to its design, including a consistent national structure that effectively targets food benefits to those with the greatest need; eligibility rules and a funding structure that make benefits available to children in almost all families with little income and few resources; a design that automatically responds to changes in the economy; and rigorous requirements to ensure a high degree of program integrity.
Food stamps help provide the fuel needed to thrive; supporting the foundation that thousands of Colorado children need to succeed. Efforts to reform or enhance it should build on its effectiveness in protecting the well-being of our children—and those nationwide—and preserve the essential program features that contribute to that success.
Find out more and view the full report.
This is post was done in conjunction with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.