|By Ben Conley, The Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
That grim assessment is the opening line of a report "Child Poverty in
The report is a call to arms of sorts regarding the direction in which the state is heading and the one sure way to turn it around -- through
The report says, "Poor kids are five times more likely to have children outside of marriage, twice as likely to be arrested and nearly three times more likely to have severe health problems. Poor kids also end up earning incomes less than half those of their counterparts."
Using a formula generated during a 2007 national review, the report estimates that child poverty cost
The effect of long-term poverty on a child is considered a substantial contributor to a laundry list of the state's problems, including severe overcrowding of prisons and skyrocketing corrections budgets, the substance abuse epidemic, the obesity rate and related health concerns, high teen birth rate and the high school dropout rate.
Those facts coupled with the knowledge that more than a quarter of
The report also points out patterns behind the numbers, including the fact that African American children make up 3 percent of the state's youth but 6 percent of the children living in poverty. Nearly half (49.4 percent) of all single-mother families in the state live below the poverty threshold, and in the past seven years, the number of kids being raised by grandparents in
There is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. It comes by looking at the other end of the spectrum, at
In 1964, a study by the
The report asks what
To answer that question, one could say it would look more like Monongalia Count y.
According to the same report, between
That's not to say
In 2012, the Rev.
As part of that report, Sonnenday explained that between 2011 and 2012, the number of children served by
Sonnenday goes on to report "The county school system identified an additional 16 whose residential situations were unstable enough for them to be considered homeless by the
He also explained that a "Point in Time Count" of
Sonnenday and the fight against homelessness helped bring together many of the agencies that were already aiding those in need.
Among the local initiatives focused on area kids is a backpack nutrition program that serves elementary schools through the efforts of the Scotts Run Settlement House and area churches.
According to Scotts Run Settlement House Director
The food is distributed on the last day of the school week to ensure the child has something nutritious to eat during the weekend.
"We have been a growing force behind that program because the need is there," Harris said. "There is a mountain of data that shows how hunger impacts a child."
There are also several national and state policies and programs either already implemented or in the works.
The West Virginia Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) offers free or low-cost health insurance for children of low-income working families who are typically just above the poverty line and not eligible for
Holley-Brown also points to the latest U.S. Census data, which show
"In 2012, WVCHIP enrollees of all ages accessed preventative dental services and one-third of them had a preventative vision visit," Holley-Brown explained, adding that "enrollees accessed their primary care practitioners at a 90 percent rate."
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