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A bipartisan deal reached to avert U.S. government default. Also on our Tuesday rundown: a new report calculates the high hospital costs for employers. Plus, new legislation could help protect Florida's at-risk wildlife.

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High Child Poverty Rate in NM

January 9, 2009

Albuquerque, NM - Children are being born into poverty at a staggering rate in New Mexico – and with the current economic downturn, the situation is expected to worsen.

The Children's Defense Fund (CDF) has released a new report that chronicles "The State of America's Children." It includes figures for the past year and, for New Mexico, it contains some disturbing information for parents, educators and children's advocates. Ed Shelleby, CDF spokesman, says the state is fourth in the nation for numbers of children living below the poverty line.

"The child poverty rate is more than 25 percent. So, more than one out of every four children living in New Mexico actually lives in poverty."

The report also says New Mexico is home to 123,000 children without health insurance, and has one of the highest teen birth rates in the country. Perhaps most unsettling, adds Shelleby, is that the statistics were compiled before the most recent, national economic slump.

"The Children's Defense Fund is expecting that next year's data, particularly in terms of child poverty rates and uninsured rates, will increase once these data fully reflect the economic environment and the effect of the downturn."

Shelleby hopes children's needs can be addressed as part of the federal economic stimulus package. Read the full report on the CDF Web site: www.childrensdefense.org.

Bruce Kennedy, Public News Service - NM