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Report Finds Progress for Children of Bridgeport

An estimated 32 percent of children in Bridgeport live below the federal poverty line. (Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition)
An estimated 32 percent of children in Bridgeport live below the federal poverty line. (Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition)
January 29, 2016

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - Poverty still plagues far too many children in Bridgeport, according to a new report that also says there has been progress in the last year.

The Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition has released its "State of the Child in Bridgeport" findings for 2015. According to the report, 32 percent of children in Connecticut's largest city live below the federal poverty line. But Ashley Blanchard, public policy and research analyst for the coalition, said there have been some marked improvements.

"Last school year, the chronic absenteeism rate fell below 30 percent," she said, "and school-based arrests have fallen significantly - from 185 arrests to 46 - and this is all within about three years. And that's huge."

The number of children living in families receiving federal food assistance declined by 3.5 percent last year, and the number facing homelessness decreased more than 40 percent. But there is still a long way to go. Blanchard pointed to the disparity in state Education Cost-Sharing dollars going to Bridgeport compared with money flowing to Hartford, "a city that's very similar to us, in size and demographics.

"They get about almost $1,000 more funding per student," she said, "and that's something that certainly can be addressed."

The State of the Child report serves as a guide to the more than 50 member organizations in the Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition, to assist their efforts to improve the lives of the city's children.

The report is online at bcacct.org.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT