Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Kids Count report for Michigan

Poverty and unemployment continue to rise in the state of Michigan. The effects of the job losses and lack of cash is severely felt by the state's children.

Kids Count in Michigan have produced a survey of children in poverty in the state, and despite the growing poverty they did find some positives. One of the positives was the amount of childhood deaths has decreased. According to the report, there were 18.9 deaths per 100,000 children, that is down from 23.1 in 2000.

From the Detroit News, writer Catherine Jun gleaned more data from the report.

More than 40 percent of Michigan students were eligible and received free or reduced federal lunches in 2008, according to Kids Count in Michigan, a report released by the Michigan League of Human Services. That's up from 30.7 percent in 2001.

Even in Oakland County, the state's wealthiest county, more children (age 17 and younger) are falling into poverty: 11 percent compared with 8.6 percent in 2005.
Statewide, one in five children lives in poverty.

At the same time, many of the programs that serve as a safety net to families are being cut, said Jane Zehnder-Merrell, senior research associate at the League.
"The erosion of economic security has a huge impact on kids," she said.

Poverty is tied to a 16 percent increase in confirmed cases of abuse and neglect since 2000, said Denise Glover, project director at the Child Care Coordinating Council of Detroit/Wayne County.

Glover said impoverished parents often cannot provide heat in their homes, often viewed as a measure of child neglect. Or they may take out their financial stress on their children.

"Tempers flair and the frustration levels increase," she said. "Children become the victims."

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