• Kleinert Foundation

Breakfast with Child Poverty Action Lab (CPAL) Recap

By: Hannah Rabalais, Program Officer

At the Kleinert Foundation, one of our guiding principles is ‘Innovation is key’. By focusing on the greater Dallas area and vulnerable populations at the intersection of complex issues, we welcome new approaches to create sustainable solutions. Children are one of the vulnerable populations we serve. We believe the work being done at Child Poverty Action Lab (CPAL) will greatly impact our community and radically move the needle forward on solving the issue of child poverty. The CPAL team is using clearly stated data-driven approaches to achieve their mission, and are seeing lasting change in their first year of official existence.

Alan Cohen, CEO of Child Poverty Action Lab

"If you only remember one thing from this presentation, remember that 1 in 3 children in Dallas lives in poverty. Morally and economically, allowing so many of our children to grow up so far from opportunity threatens our future. If we are willing to embrace the challenge of working collectively and strategically, Dallas can cut childhood poverty in half within a single generation.” says Alan Cohen, CEO of Child Poverty Action Lab. Mr. Cohen presented some startling facts and captivated the audience at the Kleinert Foundation Breakfast on October 3, 2019.

Child Poverty Action Lab (CPAL) is a city-wide task force on a mission to reduce child poverty in Dallas by fifty percent in twenty years. CPAL has gathered some incredible System-Level CEOs to sit down together quarterly to discuss their "North Star Goal". Those CEOs include City of Dallas City Manager, T.C. Broadnax, Dallas County Judge, Clay Jenkins, Dallas Area Rapid Transit President & Executive Director, Gary Thomas, Dallas Independent School District Superintendent, Dr. Michael Hinojosa, Dallas Police Department Chief of Police, Renee Hall, Parkland Health & Hospital System President & CEO, Frederick Cerise, Dallas County Community College District Chancellor, Joe May, Workforce Solutions of Greater Dallas President, Laurie Larrea, and Dallas Housing Authority CEO, Troy Broussard. Additionally, CPAL also has 50 partner organizations working together on this issue, which can be found on their website .

How will CPAL achieve its goal?

CPAL has identified six big bets to move the needle forward, those six bets are:

1. Improve Service Delivery of Underutilized State & Federal Supports "Each year in Dallas County an estimated $250M+ in existing resources for programs with a proven track record of reducing poverty goes underutilized."

2. Eliminate Barriers to Reproductive Health "The decision of how and when to have a family has deep ties to future financial security. Yet, low-income women seeking effective contraception face steep hurdles to accessing their preferred method."

3. Expand Housing Options to Enable Neighborhood Preference "When a child grows up in a neighborhood with characteristics that are above average (vs below average) for upward mobility, lifetime earnings for that child increases by $200,000+"

4. Align Fragmented Public Investment to Strengthen Child Care & 0-3 Services "The Infant/Toddler years present a high-stakes opportunity to positively influence lifelong outcomes or risk lasting achievement gaps that will lessen the impact of future investment."

5. Reduce Levels of Parent & Juvenile Incarceration "Being jailed or losing a parent to incarceration during childhood adversely impacts future education, health, and financial outcomes. A former inmate is 7.5x less likely to see mobility from the bottom quintile to the top quintile 20 years later."

6. Increase Investment in Trauma Prevention & Care "Children who experienced trauma are 130% more likely to report being poor as adults than peers who don't. The link between childhood trauma and adult hardship remains clear even when accounting for other poverty-related factors. "


We are inspired and hopeful by the work being done at Child Poverty Action Lab and are so grateful for their time and energy presenting to our attendees. Here is a quote from one of our guests:

"I was shocked to learn the statistic that one in every three children lives in poverty in Dallas. Once you realize the issue hits so close to home and impacts such a big part of our city, you want to learn how to combat the issue. Alan and his team are doing incredible work in their fight to end child poverty in our community!"

To learn more about CPAL, please visit the links below:

Thank you for reading!

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