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Report: One in Ten PA Children Lives With an Unemployed Parent

December 16, 2010

HARRISBURG, Pa. - One child in ten in Pennsylvania lives with an adult who doesn't have a job, and that situation carries with it a host of life-changing issues, according to a new report.

Megan Curran, who wrote the study for First Focus, a bipartisan child advocacy group, says a quarter-million kids in Pennsylvania are in that situation currently.

"These children are more likely now to experience homelessness, have their education impacted, perhaps failing to complete high school or college, and actually are more likely now to live in poverty as adults than are other children."

Curran says another byproduct of having a parent out of work is that it puts kids at risk of child abuse.

"In many respects, the relationship between child abuse and poverty is a complex one, but certainly the stress that results from poverty and unemployment can create an environment where these can be more likely."

Pennsylvania is one of 27 states where 10 percent or more of children live with an unemployed parent. Nevada has the highest rate at 16 percent, North Dakota the lowest at 5 percent.

Curran says that across the country the number of children with an unemployed parent has doubled since the recession started two years ago. The study says unemployment benefits kept one million children out of poverty in 2009 alone, and says passage of an extension through next year will see to it that thousands more don't fall through the cracks.

The full report is at www.firstfocus.net

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - PA