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Obama Plan for Mortgage Mess Seen as Crucial to Kids

February 18, 2009

Phoenix, AZ – President Barack Obama visits a Mesa high school this morning to unveil a 50-billion dollar plan to help struggling families avoid defaulting on their mortgages.

Carol Stambaugh of the National Association of Social Workers says that even aside from the obvious financial hit for the parents, foreclosure does a lot of mental and emotional damage to kids.

"Children need structure. Children need comfort. They need security. And if they don't know where they're going to lay their heads down at night . . . That is one of the most important parts of their safety net."

In addition, Stambaugh says, moms and dads in the middle of a foreclosure have a tough time being the responsive, happy, loving parents who provide the stability that their children need.

She says that when a child's family loses their home, it can have long-lasting negative effects.

"The child that's wrapped up in a foreclosure trauma is a child that is hugely at risk, whether it be for difficulties in school, behavior problems, or just all-around stress."

Stambaugh is optimistic that the mortgage relief program, combined with the stimulus plan, will help blunt the recession's impact on Arizona children.

"Arizona has historically been one of the more challenging places for children to grow up, whether it be school dropout rates, poverty or uninsured status. And so anything that can help families with young children is going to help preserve our state."

She says the social costs of foreclosure show up in the form of gang activity, dropping out of school and even relationship problems later in life.

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ