Rising child poverty

To the Editor:

The annual Kids Count report was recently released and the still rising levels of child poverty are numbers that should not be ignored. According to the data, total poverty and child poverty in Michigan have grown by more than 50 percent in the past 10 years and the state’s family poverty rate is the third fastest growing in the nation.

Poverty levels among area children in Clare County has jumped a staggering 25 percent between 2005 and 2009, while more than 60 percent of Clare K-12 children now qualify for free and reduced price lunches.

These tough economic times put huge pressures on families and children. Programs and services that help with education and health care are finding fewer available resources to carry out their missions.

Here in Clare County, the Great Start Collaborative and Parent Coalition, with support from the Great Start Regional Child Care Resource Center, work hard to improve the lives of young children. We appreciate the important work highlighted in the Kids Count in Michigan Data Book, which helps inform our work as we examine the needs of young children in our community.

Let’s all use this Kids Count report as a wakeup call to emphasize the importance of educational and health supports for our young children. We can make no better investment in the future of Clare County.

Heather DuBois

Clare-Gladwin Great Start Collaborative Director

Clare-Gladwin RESD