New Parents in Baltimore Could Get a $1K 'Baby Bonus'

Proposal is up for a vote in November
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 9, 2024 3:00 AM CDT
Baltimore Could Institute a $1K 'Baby Bonus' for New Parents
Nate Golden, president of the Maryland Child Alliance, poses for a portrait, Wednesday, July 3, 2024, in Baltimore. A group of Baltimore teachers is asking voters to approve a program that would give $1,000 to new parents in the hopes of reducing childhood poverty starting from birth.   (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

New parents in Baltimore could receive a $1,000 "baby bonus" if voters approve a proposal that aims to help reduce childhood poverty from birth with a modest one-time cash payment, the AP reports. A group of Baltimore teachers is behind the effort. Organizers recently secured the necessary 10,000 signatures to bring the question to voters as a ballot initiative in November. Their campaign relied on extensive canvassing efforts and a cute logo: a flying cartoon stork with a bag of money in its beak. The proposal is loosely modeled on a program implemented this year in Flint, Michigan, where women receive $1,500 during mid-pregnancy and $500 per month for the first year after giving birth. Officials said the Flint program was the first of its kind in the US.

Countries in Europe and Asia have experimented with larger cash payments, but those programs are meant to encourage more people to have more kids, not address child poverty. Italy, which has one of the world's lowest birth rates, provides baby bonus checks and other benefits aimed at increasing the population. Organizers behind the Baltimore campaign say more systemic change is needed on a national level to help lift families out of poverty, but giving new parents a modest financial boost could prove an important first step. The issue is particularly urgent in Baltimore, where an estimated 31% of school-aged children are experiencing poverty, according to census data. (Click for more on the proposed program.)

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