With the recession and this winter's harsh weather, many families are facing a choice between eating and heating. Research by Children's HealthWatch shows that young children whose families struggle to pay their utility bills ('energy insecure' families) are more likely to suffer a host of problems including food insecurity, poor health, hospitalizations and developmental delays.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which provides low-income households with assistance in paying their utility bills, is effective at shielding young children from the harmful effects of energy insecurity.
According to research by Children's HealthWatch, young children whose families received LIHEAP were less likely to be at risk for growth problems and had healthier weights for their age.
By appropriating the maximum authorized funding for LIHEAP and ensuring that climate change legislation buffers vulnerable families and children from the harmful effects of higher energy prices, Congress will be taking important steps to protect children's health.