Child poverty on the rise

Child poverty on the rise

SPRINGFIELD -- The child poverty rate in Champaign County rose four percent between 2006 - 2011. But numbers continue to rise in all parts of the state.
SPRINGFIELD -- The child poverty rate in Champaign County rose four percent between 2006 - 2011. But numbers continue to rise in all parts of the state. WCIA-3's Kelsey Gibbs explains how the numbers look in other areas of the state.

The Illinois Kids Count report for this year shows that the statewide child poverty rate rose from 17 percent to 21 percent; especially in Springfield.

"What I want to be when I grow up is a professional dancer."

Jericho Burnes has a bright future. He loves to run, jump and play. But most importantly, he loves going to summer camp.

"My favorite part about camp is, math."

As these kids go by enjoying life, little do they know that they live in or under the poverty level.

"The main thing for people to recognize is that these kids are just as capable and have just as bright of a future and just as much potential as any other child".

Illinois Kids Count shows the child poverty rate in Sangamon County rose from 18 percent in 2006 to 24 percent in 2011. And, the number of children living in poverty in Sangamon County increased 33 percent, compared to 19 percent statewide.

"But their needs are greater because their families aren't able to necessarily easily meet the needs at home."

Regardless of the reason why these children live in poverty, Erin Predmore, with the Family Service Center, says they deserve more.

"For me, I would say the reason is every child has the same potential regardless of where they put their head at night."

For that, Jericho says he's grateful.

"Because you don't have to pay for it and Miss Molly cares about us."

Jericho is one of hundreds of kids who attend the Compass Summer and After-school Program. It serves six elementary schools and one middle school.

More alarming numbers from this survey: During 2011 to 2013, the average rate of child abuse and neglect in Sangamon County was almost 16 kids for every thousand; Champaign County was 14 per thousand; the statewide rate was 9 per thousand.
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