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Child Poverty in Connecticut Increased 50 Percent Since 1990

by Hugh McQuaid | Jul 22, 2014 3:30pm
(4) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Poverty

Hugh McQuaid Photo

Connecticut Association for Human Services policy analyst Tamara Kramer

Poverty among children living in Connecticut has increased by 50 percent since the Annie E. Casey Foundation began keeping track in 1990, according to an annual report from the foundation.

The sobering statistic was part of a mixed bag of good and bad numbers in the 25th annual KIDS COUNT Data Book released this week. The report tracks the well-being of children in all 50 states and the nation as a whole. The status of children is measured by indicators like kids’ economic situation, education, health, and family situation. The report is based on data from 2010 to 2012.

Overall, Connecticut ranks seventh in child well-being, which is an improvement from last year when the state ranked at an all-time low of ninth place.

But the state’s high overall rankings can be misleading, Connecticut Association for Human Services policy analyst Tamara Kramer said at a Tuesday press conference.

“We know the state’s overall performance masks major disparities between children of color and their white peers,” she said.

Wade Gibson, director of the Fiscal Policy Center at Connecticut Voices for Children, said Connecticut may be the only state to see a 50 percent increase in child poverty since 1990, when about one in every 10 children lived in poverty. Now, nearly one in six children lives in poverty, Gibson said.

Hugh McQuaid Photo “There are very few states in the country where you can say that. We may be the only state that has had a 50 percent rise in child poverty,” he said.

Orlando Rodriguez, an analyst for the Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission, said the numbers are more striking when you account for racial and ethnic backgrounds. Poverty rates among African American, Hispanic, and mixed-race children are significantly higher than among their white counterparts, he said.

“If you don’t dig a little deeper, you don’t see a quarter of your Hispanics and a quarter of your African Americans living in poverty,” he said.

The report did include some bright spots for Connecticut. For instance, the state scored 5th in the overall educational well-being of children. Only 37 percent of children in Connecticut do not have access to preschool, which is the lowest rate in the country.

“This is up to 4-year-old data, so this doesn’t even reflect recent investments. So, I think what’s great about this indicator is it shows that when we commit to something, when we make something a priority, we can move and we can be the best state in the country,” Kramer said.

During Tuesday’s press conference, some of the speakers offered policy recommendations to improve the well-being of children in Connecticut. Gibson said that more state resources need to be devoted to supporting children. During the 25 years in which child poverty has risen, Gibson said the state has spent a declining percentage of its budget on children.

Gibson called for expanding the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit program and increased access to early childhood education programs.

“As we do these two things, because they do cost money, it’s crucial that we continue working to expand the share of the budget that goes to kids,” he said. “And make sure that when we spend more money . . . that we don’t take money away from another area that benefits kids. Too often we pay for an expansion in K-12 education by dialing back higher education.”

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(4) Comments

posted by: Parent and educator | July 22, 2014  11:10pm

That is exactly what they are doing—expanding one area and contracting another. 
In Windham, the state claimed to be sending millions of dollars along with a Special Master in order to reverse the educational achievement gap.  I knew there were going to be huge problems when the Special Master, Steven Adamowski, made statements such as, “it is possible to have a high-poverty, high-performing school”.  He was just trying to tell us that, aside from his princely quarter-million dollar salary and benefits and staff, etc., no more money was going into the dwindling educational budget purse.
He promptly cut an award-winning pre-school program and then limited school buses.  Most of his budget manipulations were exactly of that order—cut all that expensive stuff out; shrink services; make it difficult for students to gain access to bi-lingual classes and special education.
Connecticut should be ashamed.  On top of these indignities, such as cutting buses, some schools have instituted zero tolerance policies with regard to everything—like tardiness and absences.  Some unfortunate children, as the bus limits are expanded to 1.5 miles, 2 miles (within that children have to walk)—some miss their bus and then must walk to school 2 miles or more, and then they are late.  This just adds to the despair of children’s (and parents’) lives.
Ditto with cutting so-called remedial courses at Community Colleges—a totally short-sighted and harmful policy.

posted by: ASTANVET | July 23, 2014  10:21am

Hmmmm… highly progressive liberal state, an increase of poverty… where have i seen that before.  Oh right…everywhere it’s been tried.

posted by: GuilfordResident | July 24, 2014  2:13pm

The liberal-progressives keep their hold on power by keeping the populace downtrodden and dependent upon them. This is what is in play in CT. I don’t have an answer but the liberal-progressive play book only serves to make administrators and reformers wealthy.

posted by: QuestionMark | July 24, 2014  9:33pm

Child poverty increased 50% only because we are attracting social benefit people, not the working class to Connecticut.