Held Captive: Child Poverty in America
Children’s Defense Fund
Julia Cass
December 2010


Julia Cass, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, chronicled the toll poverty is inflicting on America’s children for the Children’s Defense Fund. She spent time with poor children in Quitman County, Mississippi, Katrina-displaced children in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana, and children of the newly poor in Long Island, New York. Cass found that despite safety net protections put in place over the past generation, poor children are still adrift in a sea of poverty with their future in jeopardy.

For Katrina-displaced poor children, stability is still lacking. After experiencing the worst trauma during and after the storm, many have spent the years since Katrina in nomadic uncertainty, staying in shelters, motels, formaldehyde-laden trailers, apartments in distant cities, or doubled or tripled up with relatives in New Orleans. Today, thousands of Katrina children are seriously behind in school, acting out and suffering from shockingly high rates of health and mental health problems. They lost not only all of their belongings but a big block of schooling and sizeable chunk of their childhoods. This report highlights the unique challenges faced by these children.

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