Family Economic Success

Children are particularly vulnerable to many specific risks when parents lack the earnings, assets, and access to financial services to consistently meet the needs of the family. These risks include low birth weight, lead poisoning, child abuse and neglect, teenage pregnancy, and not completing high school.

Family economic success (FES) is one indicator that suggests families with access to strong financial futures in strong neighborhoods can avoid those risks. It is a crosscutting issue that affects Voices other priorities of health, foster care and adoption, and early care and education.

Voices’ FES work focuses on promoting family self-sufficiency, school readiness and success, and community economic strength by mobilizing broad support for funding to increase access to quality child care for low-income working parents. In 2007, Voices created the statewide Working Families Child Care Coalition (26 statewide organizations) to lead FES advocacy campaigns across the state.


New data recently released by the Census Bureau show that child poverty has worsened in Virginia. In 2011, primarily as a result of the recession, approximately 65,300 additional Virginia children were growing up in poverty since 2006, raising the total number of poor children to over a quarter million. The Census Bureau data indicate that children bear a disproportionate share of the recession’s damaging effects, as the 2011 child poverty rate of 15.6% exceeded the overall Virginia poverty rate of 11.5%. Moreover, the data reveal that child poverty is not evenly distributed across the state; rates vary by congressional district from 6.1% to as much as 32.5%. Voices has assembled the relevant data and created child poverty briefs for each of the 11 congressional districts.

Below are congressional district profiles as of the 112th Congress:


Predicting Poverty in the Commonwealth (January, 2009) – This report released by Voices for Virginia’s Children and the Commonwealth Institute predicts that the recession could push an additonal 73,000 children in Virginia into poverty. This would represent up to a 30-percent increase in the number of children in poverty in the state. Evidence indicates that many kids pushed into poverty during a recession will remain poor for years, exposing them to the very harmful consequences of prolonged poverty.


Virginia Partnership to Encourage Responsible Lending (VAPERL) is a coalition working to reduce the dangers of predatory lending in Virginia. If you are interested in learning more about predatory lending in Virginia or would like to join the VAPERL listserv, please contact Dana Wiggins, VAPERL’s Responsible Lending Coordinator.