Iowa children face tough times - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa children face tough times

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

A new report shows more Iowa kids living in poverty. According to the most recent Kids Count report the percentage of children in poverty has increased from 14 percent in 2005 to 16 percent in 2010.

Poverty has been a growing problem for many since the economic downturn and sometime it's the state's youngest residents that feel it the most.

Shelly Smith the Executive Director for the Family and Children's Council of Black Hawk County says this issue is not going away.

"Black Hawk County does have high poverty rates we have a high free and reduced lunch rate with our children in schools and looking at the numbers for Kids Count I realize our poverty rate is climbing," said Smith.

The percentage of children who parents lack secure employment went from 21 percent in 2008 to 25 percent in 2010.

"When parents lose a job they have to down size. They have to let go of the sports activities. Children have to give up girl scouting, boy scouting, because of the costs associated with it. They have to downsize vehicles. They're not able to get out of the home or get to resources when they receive help. They have to look at changing their life style," said Smith.

Despite some downward trends in some very key areas the state of Iowa has actually maintained its' 2011 ranking of the 8th best state for kids.

"If you look at the Midwestern states we look better than the other states in the nation because of our value system, because of our economic impact. We're not as impacted in the housing trends like the east and west coast. Although we have foreclosure rates and we have very hard levels of poverty related to homelessness," said Smith.

Other bright spots in the report include a decrease in percentage of low-birth weight babies born in Iowa and an increase in the number of children covered by health insurance.

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