'Kids Count' Report Shows Jackson Child Poverty Jump - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

'Kids Count' Report Shows Jackson Child Poverty Jump

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JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) - A new report says more than a half-million Michigan children lived in poverty in 2011. Poverty is defined as making less than $18,000 a year. Jackson County ranks 58th out of 82 counties. Child poverty jumped 54 percent, the need for food assistance went up 46 percent and abuse and neglect rose 6 percent.

According to the Michigan League for Public Policy, the group that publishes the 'Kids Count Report,' when parents earn more, kids fare better.

"They're doing what they have to do to make ends meet, but the kids... the kids are the ones getting the neglect. Not on purpose, but the kids are the ones getting the neglect," said Judy Mills, a parent volunteer a Lincoln School in Jackson.

Single with three kids, Eva Halliwell can't work. She gets some cash assistance.

"It's stressful. Sometimes you want to cry yourself to sleep. Sometimes you want to pull your hair out and sometimes you just got to sit back and roll with the punches...," said Halliwell, the parent of a student at Lincoln Schools.

Little things, she says: gas money, bus fare, add up quickly. And getting a job isn't always a way out. 40 hours a week at minimum wage is still below poverty.

The Michigan League for Public Policy says expanding early childhood education will help alleviate the problems for children in poverty.

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