Child Poverty Increases In Ingham County and Michigan

By: Tiffany Teasley Email
By: Tiffany Teasley Email

Whether it's your High School student or your pre-schooler, your child maybe the next victim of the economy.

"We've seen a 40 percent increase in child poverty between 2000 and 2007 and we are now entering our 9th year of an economic downturn," said Jane Zehnder-Merrell of the Michigan League for Human Services.

And in Ingham County it's nearly 20 percent of children living in poverty, statistics revealing a snowball effect of one loss after another.

" With the loss of a number of key employers, the effect of General Motors likely having an effect, but to rank 63 out of 83 counties is very concerning, a loss of funding at the state level ended up trickling down to us at the county level," said Renee Canady of the Ingham County Health Department.

An example; cutting $135,000 in funding to the Michigan Children's Trust Fund.

"That was a significant hit, we have looked at some efficiencies to figure out how to provide those services in the absence of that funding," Canady said.

Those declines are forcing families into a scary cycle of abuse and neglect, 29,000 Michigan kids were maltreated in 2007.

"And most childhood abuse and neglect is in fact neglect which has to do with families not being able to meet the basic needs of their children, which is closely aligned with poverty," Zehnder-Merrell said.

But despite all the negative news in the report, officials say there are a few bright spots where children are benefiting.

"Many more of them are mastering the basic skills in reading and demonstrating that on the MEAP test," Zehnder-Merrell said.

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