Improving children’s health on the front lines of care
Children’s HealthWatch is a nonpartisan network of pediatricians, public health researchers, and children’s health and policy experts committed to improving children’s health in America.

Learn More

Advocates Push for 'Tax Fairness' with Expanded Child Tax Credits

Originally posted on Public News Service As Massachusetts lawmakers work to finalize tax-relief measures, advocates for low-income families are calling for an expansion of tax credits proven to reduce poverty. Advocates want to increase…
, ,

Families facing poverty should not be hostages of a debt limit accord

The article “No debt limit deal; but both sides signal optimism” (Page A1, May 17) reported on the countdown taking place in Washington as Republican leaders threaten to take resources for food and other basic needs from millions of Americans…

Children's HealthWatch Statement on Threat to 2022 Public Charge Rule

Two years ago, Children’s HealthWatch and our partners celebrated the rescission of the 2019 public charge rule – a harmful and racist wealth test policy that penalized participation of immigrant families in evidence-based programs with…

Children’s HealthWatch Statement On the Debt Ceiling

Imposing restrictions that take food and other basic needs away from children and families with low incomes are an imminent threat to their short and long-term health and well-being. Despite decades of research demonstrating the beneficial health…

What was the association between participation in federal COVID-19 relief programs and mitigation of food and housing hardships and disparities among families with young children?

Originally posted on News-Medical.Net In a recent study published in JAMA Health Forum Journal, researchers evaluated the relationship between the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) relief programs and the mitigation of household food…

Van Hollen, Young Introduce Bill to Boost Housing Mobility Vouchers, Increase Families’ Access to Opportunity

Originally posted on Chris Van Hollen. “With exorbitant rents and increased homelessness in many communities, our nation is in the grips of an affordable housing crisis that forces three out of every four of America’s lowest-income families…

Pandemic relief efforts did not reach immigrant families

Originally posted on CIDRAP. Immigrant families living in the United States took some of the hardest economic hits during the COVID-19 pandemic, but benefited less from government assistance and relief programs than families with US-born…

Immigrant Families Struggled the Most with Food Insecurity, Rent Payments during COVID

Originally posted on BU School of Public Health. Although families with immigrant mothers experienced higher rates of food insecurity and inability to pay rent during the pandemic than other groups, they reported less participation in economic…

Effect of COVID-19 Pandemic on Food Insecurity and Inability to Pay Rent Hit Immigrant Families Hardest

Originally posted on DrexelNEWS. Although families with immigrant mothers experienced higher rates of food insecurity and inability to pay rent during the pandemic than other groups, they reported less participation in economic impact payments…

Our Policy Focus Areas

Children’s HealthWatch research and policy analysis specifically focuses on the child health and developmental impacts of economic hardships with a particular focus on food insecurity, unstable housing, health care hardships and inability to afford adequate household energy.

  • Consistent access to food for all family members is crucial for ensuring children are healthy. Food and nutrition assistance programs are an essential cornerstone in supporting the health and well-being of low-income families.

  • Stable housing supports healthy growth and development among young children, and means families are not behind on rent, moving frequently, doubled up, overcrowded, or homeless. Policies that create affordable housing options that provide access to safe, stable housing help ensure young children and their families can thrive and be successful in life.

  • Maintaining consistent utility services so homes are heated in the winter and cooled in the summer is critical for children’s health and safety. Energy supports protect families from the harmful health effects of having their utilities shut off.

  • Health Care Hardships

    When families are forced to choose between paying for health care, such as medical care and prescriptions, and other basic needs such as food, rent, child care, or utility bills, that decision can have an effect on the health and wellbeing of young children. Providing supports necessary to care for children, especially those with special health care needs, is crucial for improving child health.

  • Alleviating economic hardships for families with young children will require comprehensive policy solutions including improvements to nutrition assistance programs, increasing access to affordable housing, providing energy assistance, making work pay through reducing cliff effects and increasing  and expanding access to the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, providing affordable child care to all children, and supporting the health and development of all children.



A Historical Retrospective of Food Insecurity and Hunger Since the 1960’s

Published in September 2022, Children's HealthWatch and Project Bread's new historical retrospectives examine the history of food insecurity and hunger since the 1960’s. This first brief describes how unemployment rates and income instability and resulting rates of poverty and food insecurity in the US have evolved over time. The second brief describes how shifts in federal investments from the public food assistance system to the private food assistance system were used to justify cuts to Federal Nutrition Programs that adversely impacted rates of food insecurity. Both briefs provide information to re-ignite and energize conversations toward identifying solutions to address food insecurity so that all children and adults in the Commonwealth have enough food to thrive. Learn more below.

Our Special Projects

We pioneer several key projects that move health research forward. Click on the icons to learn more.


Become a Supporter

Children’s HealthWatch relies on grants and private donations to fund research, dissemination, and advocacy. Donations from individuals, groups, and foundations determine the size of the impact we make on the health of the children we serve and the policies that affect them.

Get Email Updates From Children’s HealthWatch