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‘Kids Count’ Shows Deep Impact of Recession on Children

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 17 Aug 2011 04:40pm | comments
Linda Southward

Brand new data reveals how the recession has deeply impacted tens of thousands of Mississippi Kids. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that researchers are now worried about the generational impact of the Great Recession.

This year's Kids Count report, released Wednesday, found that 28-thousand Mississippi kids have been affected by foreclosure and another 89-thousand have at least one parent that cannot find a job.

Linda Southward with Mississippi Kids Count says that is bad news for a state that routinely ranks last in many key wellness indicators.

"If children are not where they need to be in the early years and are not reading proficiently by the end third grade, then there likelihood for being a high school graduate is greatly diminished. It is a very high hill to climb," Southward said.

Southward says that could harm their development and future well into adulthood.

State Economist Dr. Marianne Hill says Mississippi children with an unemployed parent are 15-percent more likely to repeat a grade, and homelessness or housing uncertainty also negative impacts kids in school.

"Raising problems at the home will not only impact the state here in the short term, it will have a long term impact on what we can attain in the future," Hill said.

Catch Kids is a non-profit that runs no cost medical and dental clinics for children in three Northeast Mississippi Counties.

Catch Kids executive director Valerie Long says she has seen the impact of the Recession on the children they see.

"They do not have any insurance, or they may have high insurance deductibles. And the recession as not passed us by, and we have some effects in this area as well. So we do see families that have lost their insurance because of loss of employee. So we do so those children," Long said.

Long says they see 800 children a year that otherwise would not get treatment.

The study did show improvement in few key areas such as birth weight, infant mortality, and teen pregnancy but the state still ranks 50th in 7 out of 10 major wellness indicators.

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Linda Southward


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