Children living in poverty on the rise - - Jackson, MS

Children living in poverty on the rise

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By Ashley Conroy

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The U.S. Census Bureau reports that children in poverty is on the rise, and Mississippi is not immune.

The Census Bureau shows that in 2009, over 46.3 million Americans lived in poverty, which increased from 2008 where poverty levels were at 39.8 million.

For a family of four, this means they make no more than $22,050 dollars annually.

Regional Program Officer Latisha Latiker from the Children's Defense Fund says lack of state assisted child care or transportation assistance often leaves families without the means to work and care for their children.

"Those work supports that individuals need just to get that initial start in the economy are sorely lacking in the state," Latiker said.

Latiker says a state funded early childhood education will help prevent further long-term poverty issues in Mississippi.

"If the state showed a greater commitment to early education, I truly believe that our situation would change."

The Census Bureau also estimates that in 2009, 15 million children nationwide were living in poverty, and about 31 percent of them were in the Magnolia State.

Spokesperson Latisha Delaware from Save the Children says they help children in rural impoverished areas of the state.

"There are quite a number of our children who attend our programs that do have low reading scores and reading levels," Delaware said.

Save the Children also supports a state funded early childhood education program.

Delaware says children in their program respond positively to individuals who take time to invest in helping them.

"We need those individuals who want to make an investment in children's lives, and not only children in poverty, but all children."

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