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Report: 1 in 6 Ohio Kids Stuck in Poverty

December 12, 2007

Columbus, OH – Ohio kids in poverty are staying in poverty, according to the new Ohio "Kids Count" report released today. The annual report tracks children's well-being in a number of areas, including health, education, and financial security.

Barbara Turpin is the Kids Count director for the Children's Defense Fund in Ohio. She says the report found 17 percent of Ohio's kids are living in poverty, or about one child in six, and child poverty in the state has hovered around that level for the last five years.

"Kids in poverty are really not getting much better. Their situations are not improving."

She says Ohio's minimum wage increase should help improve the trend, and wider use of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit could help many families build up some savings. She believes Ohio could help, by instituting a state version of the Earned Income Tax Credit.

The report also points to rising healthcare costs as a troubling factor for kids in low-income families. Turpin says expanding health insurance coverage to more families would make a big difference.

"Make sure that families aren't drained due to any kinds of health concerns or health issues, and just keeping kids healthy without having to go into a crisis before health care is provided."

One bright spot in the report is that fewer Ohio kids are facing felony charges. Turpin chalks that up to increased use of community-based prevention programs.

Rob Ferrett/John Robinson, Public News Service - OH