A new report says there's been a surge in the number of Ohio children growing up in poor neighborhoods. A Kids Count Data Snapshot from the Annie E. Casey Foundation released today (Thursday) shows the number of Ohio children living in high-poverty communities has increased by 60-percent over the last decade.
An area is considered "high-poverty" when 30-percent or more of the residents are below the povety line.
Commenting for Ohio News Connection, Laura Speer with the Casey Foundation claims children in these neighborhoods face challenges in almost every aspect of their lives that make it less likely they’ll reach full potential as adults.
"Harmful levels of stress; they’re more likely to have behavioral and emotional problems; they have more trouble in school; have lower test scores. Living in an area of concentrated poverty limits the opportunities that families have available to them in order to get a better job, in order to make sure that the health and the welfare of their children is taken care of. "
Speer says Nationally, the number of children living in a high poverty area increased 25-percent - and that even if a family isn't officially "in poverty" according to federal standards, it still harms children when a lot of other people in the neighborhood are under that line.
The report calls for transforming disadvantaged communities and recommends revitalization and education initiatives tailored to each area. Speer says the idea is to make those neighborhoods better places to raise children.
"We know that it’s important to support the families in the communities in terms of giving them access to financial coaching, as well as helping them with gaining employment skills."
Among the country’s 50th largest cities, Cleveland ranks 2nd for the highest rates of children living in areas of concentrated poverty.