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Kids Count reveals poverty rates increasing

11:05 AM, Jan 24, 2012   |    comments
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(WZZM) - The number of Kent County children living in poverty has increased every year of the last decade. At the same time, many of the support systems that children need to be healthy and successful in school are unraveling in the face of budget cuts and increasing needs.

The Kids Count in Michigan Data Book "Health Matters" focuses on child health and the role that the social and economic factors in children's lives play in good health.

To see full report, click: http://www.milhs.org/.

It provides detailed profiles for Michigan and each of its 83 counties. Counties are ranked on 16 measures of child well-being.

Children age five and younger are more likely to live in poverty than are school-aged children - particularly concerning since research shows that the impact of poverty is most profound and long-lasting during this critical stage of development.

The report also reveals child abuse and neglect in Kent County almost doubled over the past decade.

"The findings show that kids in Kent County and across Michigan are still suffering the fallout from our long recession," said Jane Zehnder-Merrell, the Kids Count in Michigan director at the Michigan League for Human Services.

With a larger number of children living in poverty, along come issues like extreme stress and depression and anxiety which in some cases can lead to abuse and neglect.

State wide the rate of abuse and neglect rose 34%. In 2010, 32,500 Michigan children were confirmed victims of abuse or neglect. The increase is also evident in Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon counties.

But the largest jump in confirmed victims of abuse in neglect can be seen in Muskegon County where in 2000 there the rate was at 11.1. A decade later in 2010, the rate was at 21.3.  

Still, there is some good news to report. Statewide, the biggest improvements were in the area of education with fewer students considered "not proficient" in math.

There were also fewer births to teens, fewer teen deaths and fewer high school dropouts.

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