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Minnesota Looks to Stunt Growth of Rising Child Poverty

September 5, 2007

St. Paul, MN – The "Legislative Commission to End Poverty in Minnesota by 2020" will hear testimony today on the impact of poverty on children. Andi Egbert, of the Children’s Defense Fund of Minnesota, will testify that, while poverty affects people of all ages, it affects kids the most and for the longest amount of time.

"These kids are more likely to have health problems lasting into adulthood. They're also less likely to do well in school. Then, they have difficulty holding down a job and becoming productive members of society."

She says there are now 50,000 Minnesota kids living in poverty. The Commission will hold a series of hearings around the state and compile specific recommendations by next December. Commission member and State Senator Tony Lourey says he knows ending poverty is a tall order, but it's also an essential one.

"Poverty is a plague on our society. In fact, child poverty has risen 1.7 percent, up to 11.8 percent in Minnesota since 2001. That's simply unacceptable."

Lourey adds that's more than one in ten children in poverty, but that it isn't a condition that government alone can solve. The solution requires a joint effort that includes faith-based groups, community organizations, nonprofit groups, all with a long-term commitment.

"There's a growing disparity between those who have a larger and larger share of our resources in our society. The numbers of people on the lower end of the scales are growing incrementally. We're not doing what we need to make sure that everybody has, at least, the basic necessities of life including food, clothing, shelter, and adequate health care."

The Commission includes nine House and Senate members, and two Governor's appointees.

Jim Wishner/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - MN