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New Report Paints Grim Picture of State of Ohio’s Children

January 12, 2009

Columbus, OH - A check-up on the status of Ohio children shows a growing number aren't doing so well. The new State of America's Children report from the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) finds the number of children living in poverty nationally has increased by about half a million to 13.3 million.

CDF spokesman Ed Shelleby says Ohio has the sixth-largest group of children living in poverty in the country.

"That number is about 500,000 and about half of those children live in extreme poverty, which is defined by a family of four living on about $10,500 a year."

The report also finds that about 225,000 Ohio children are uninsured, and more than 50 percent are not performing at grade-level for reading and math.

According to Shelleby, the statistics point to the fact that the country is not as competitive as it could be in the global economy.

"We really need to be investing in children. We need to be investing in human capital. And with the new administration and a Congress we’re really hoping the will make children and working families a priority."

The executive director of the Public Children Services Association of Ohio, Crystal Ward Allen, adds that financial stresses in the current economy bring a double hit for some families.

"At the same time that parents and families are feeling that type of stress, the agencies that serve families and children are suffering budget cuts."

Children’s advocates are calling on the Governor and state lawmakers to be creative in finding money and selective budget cuts to make sure families and children don't lose any more support.

The study can be found at www.childrensdefense.org

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH