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CO First at Putting Kids Last? Report Looks at Ways to Change

October 2, 2008

Denver, CO - The growing number of Colorado children living in poverty is a focus of concern and attention this week. The annual Colorado Children's Campaign is outlining efforts to address such problems in other states and countries, and children's advocates in Colorado are considering what they can learn from those examples.

The Children's Campaign executive director, Megan Ferland, says a good place to start would be providing access to child care for working parents.

"It not only would allow single parents to go to work, which would help lift them out of poverty, but it also would help the kids start school on par with their peers."

Access to health care hinges on breaking through numerous barriers, according to Freeland. She is urging improvements in the process for enrolling children in health care programs and keeping them enrolled.

"Colorado is last in the country in terms of providing health insurance for kids living in poverty."

This year's election, says Ferland, is a great opportunity for voters to let lawmakers know how they feel about children's issues.

"'You want my vote, put kids first.' That's how people need to be interacting with candidates."

The Children's Campaign recommends improving high school graduation rates, so Coloradans can qualify for higher-paying jobs. While Colorado's childhood proverty rate remains below the national average, a study earlier this year found child poverty growing faster here than in any other state.

The growing number of children in poverty was the focus at the Colorado Children's Campaign annual luncheon Wednesday.

More information is available at www.coloradokids.org.

Eric Mack/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - CO