Does Poverty Affect our Kids?

Poverty suggests a family with no food, clothing, or shelter. In the year 2005, a Poverty Pulse poll was taken by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). It asked the public this question: “How would you describe being poor in the United States?” The responses focused on homelessness, hunger and not being able to meet basic needs.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s latest annual report on poverty in the U.S. states there were 37 million poor individuals (2005) living in this country. That number has not changed much in recent years — as the report states 12.6 percent of Americans were poor in 2005. This number has been averaging between 11.3 percent to 15.1 percent of during the last 20 years.

Once example, in Brooklyn, New York, there is a poverty problem, but to understand poverty in this country, is critical to take a look behind these kinds of numbers that are lingering in the Census Bureau’s reports. Look at the actual living conditions of the individuals that our government claims are poor.

The reality is that in the U.S. the poor are actually well nourished, but some poor families experience temporary food shortages. 89 percent of the poor report their families have enough food, while only 2 percent say they often don’t have enough to eat. Forty-three percent of what the government calls “poor” households actually own their own homes, and a car.

According to Author Robert E. Rector, in his article, “How Poor Are America’s Poor? Examining the Plague of Poverty in America,” poverty in the U.S. can be reduced further, particularly poverty among children. Two main reasons are why American children are considered poor: Their parents don’t work much, and fathers are absent. The author sites that the typical poor family with children is supported by only 800 hours of work during a year, which is only 16 hours of work per week. If work in each family were raised to 2,000 hours per yearthe equivalent of one adult working 40 hours per week throughout the year nearly 75 percent of poor children would not be deemed officially “in poverty” in the U.S.

Children of the City’s website features an audio presentation that sites the fact that there are 17 thousand cases of child abuse or neglect every year, a 48 percent high school drop out rate and the fact that one in three families is living below the poverty line. It is all happening in our own back yards. These individuals continue to need help to keep their kids out of crime and off drugs.

Children of the City’s prevention outreach services have evolved to include trauma intervention, counseling, after-school programs, social work, courtroom and legal advocacy, financial counseling, youth mentoring, and other services that are helping families and their children achieve success socially, at school and at home. Parents can not only get help with their careers, but financially too.

One program is called Future Safe — a monthly event attended by about 500 children with a preventative element designed to deter children from drug abuse, delinquency, gang involvement and teen pregnancy. Often a first step for children from poor families, the program helps them engage in after school programs.

Maybe with more programs like Children of the City, our communities could beat what our government continues to call poverty in America.

Source by Kristin Gabriel

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