Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Green Bay area children in poverty

An Wisconsin organization called Start Smart has released some statistics on the needs of children in Brown County, near Green Bay.

Start Smart hosts an annual breakfast called the "State of Brown County's Children." They gather people and groups who work with children's education and care at the breakfast.

The Green Bay Gazettes Tony Walter included the following stats released at the breakfast in his piece about the event.

# Between 2000 and 2007, the percentage of county children and youths living below the poverty level grew from 8 percent to 15 percent. The poverty level, set by the federal government, is a $10,400 income for a household with just one person, $21,200 for a household with four residents, and $35,600 for a household with eight residents.

# The percentage of families with children younger than the age of 5 living in poverty grew from 10 percent to 20 percent.

# During the 2007-08 school year, there were more than 600 homeless children in the Green Bay School District.

# The number of reported abuse and neglect cases involving county children increased from 597 in 1999 to 1,324 in 2006.

# An average of 34 percent of children enrolled in Brown County schools are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches.

"It's an issue that should concern us all because there's a cost down the road," said Sue Vincent, executive director of Start Smart. "The nation hasn't come forward with the times. There's still the mindset that this (raising a child) is a mother's issue. But if we invest early, there are results down the road."

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