Dr. Diana DiNitto shared her insights on childhood and poverty with WalletHub. She discussed the relationship between education and income, and the effects of both for children in adulthood. DiNitto also discussed the faltering national efforts to end poverty, the residual character of the U.S. social welfare system, and possible solutions to mitigate the negative effects of poverty on children.

“We have lost our focus on ending poverty, and I think we have become complacent about the poverty that does exist. Approximately one fifth of children in the United States live in poverty, not counting those that live in low-income families that do not meet the poverty definition,” DiNitto said to WalletHub.

To address these problems, DiNitto suggests to start at the very beginning, by supporting families to prevent poverty in the first place.

“We need a more rational approach to meeting children’s basic needs and distributing reserouces to provide a decent level or floor of social welfare benefits for all children and their families,” she said. “Thinking about programs from a more universal perspective is also important. Consider the benefits that would accrue from universal pre-k education or from universal healthcare rather than a two-tier system of care, one for those who have the resources and those who lack these resources.”

Read the full interview.