Detroit Today: An untraditional solution to alleviate child poverty in Flint 

The program aims to financially support parents by providing them with a cash allowance of $1,500 each month.

Photo of a water tower in Flint, Mich.

In this file photo, the Flint water plant tower is seen, Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, in Flint.

Recently, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha — a renowned pediatrician and whistleblower of the Flint Water Crisis — along with her colleague Luke Shaefer, created Rx Kids, an anti-poverty initiative for many Flint residents. Beginning in 2024, Flint parents are set to receive a cash allowance of $1,500 under the program, plus $500 a month for the first year of their child’s life.

Around 50% of children live in poverty in Flint.

Listen: How two scholars are attempting to tackle poverty for young families in Flint.


Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha is a Michigan State University pediatrician, professor, author and whistleblower of the Flint Water Crisis. She says the Rx Kids project is a reimagining of how we can care for our communities in the face of governmental neglect.

“This program,” says Hanna-Attisha, “is about taking a step back and asking ourselves as a society: how do we do better to build a resilient society so that kids and families can do what they want to do — which is be great parents and raise children?”

Luke Shaefer, a University of Michigan policy professor and director of the university’s Poverty Solutions initiative, adds that specifically targeting poverty at the beginning could be both more effective and economical in treatment. 

“Country after country when they adopt exactly this type of cash transfer…child poverty plummets,” says Shaefer. 

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