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Report: More MD Children Living in Low-Income Households

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Monday, November 11, 2013   

BALTIMORE - Although Maryland is considered one of the wealthiest states in the nation, there's been a double-digit increase in the percentage of kids living in poverty over the last seven years. A new report from the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation reveals that one in three Maryland children ages eight and younger is growing up in a low-income household, that is, one bringing in under 200 percent of the official poverty rate.

According to Al Passarella, research coordinator with Maryland Advocates for Children and Youth, most of those kids are not in pre-school, and are not prepared for kindergarten.

"That's one of the big things we're pushing here in Maryland, is to make sure that our low-income children have access to quality pre-K, so that they go into school with exactly the educational tools they need in order to start learning with their wealthier peers," he said.

The report says there are 216,000 kids under age nine growing up in low-income households in Maryland, and Passarella said that, for many of them, both parents are working.

"So, that's a lot of children that are in working families that they're not making enough money to make ends meet; they're not having access to quality health care; they're not actually having access to nutritional meals to help with their cognitive development," he warned.

Passarella said quality education, starting with the expansion of preschool programs, is one of the best ways to begin lifting Maryland children out of poverty.

The report, "The First Eight Years," is at AECF.org.




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