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More Evidence Suggests Tackling Child Poverty Best Thing to Do for Our Kids

Posted by Elena Hernandez at Jul 31, 2014 12:40 PM |
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Elena Hernandez - A recurring theme is emerging – high poverty rates and declining family economic security are hurting Washington state’s kids and our economy. A new report from Child Trends is the third report in one month highlighting the importance of tackling systemic child poverty (see our post on the 2014 KIDS COUNT Data Book and the 2014 Opportunity Scorecard).

Today’s report provides new state-level data illustrating the prevalence of eight adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) – particularly stressful events that are strongly linked to negative outcomes later in life, such as obesity, alcoholism, and depression.

Economic hardship is the most common adverse childhood experience in Washington state, a consistent finding across all states. One out of every 4 kids have gone through repeated periods where their family found it difficult to cover costs of even the most basic needs like food or housing.  

When a quarter of our kids experience economic hardship during their childhood we cannot achieve our full potential as a state.  Developing a strategic and targeted approach to reducing poverty and removing barriers to opportunity should be a top state priority. 

Other highlights from the Washington state–specific data include:

  • Over one-third (36 percent) of children experienced one or two adverse childhood experiences at some point from birth to age 17. The more ACEs a child experiences, the more likely they are to experience negative outcomes in the future.
  • Nine percent of kids are either the victim of violence or witness violence in their neighborhoods.
  • One out of every five children (21 percent) lives with a parent or guardian that is either separated or has gone through a divorce.
  • Twelve percent of children live in a home where someone struggles with alcohol or drugs or suffers from mental illness.  In fact the prevalence of mental health related ACEs in Washington state is among the highest in the country.

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HIGHLIGHTS

Our Seattle Policy Summit

You can watch our Budget Matters 2017 Seattle Policy Summit, which took place on December 6, online. The first part of the day (watch here) featured Washington State Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib and Race Forward President Glenn Harris. The second part of the day (watch here) featured Budget & Policy Center Senior Policy Analyst Jennifer Tran, and a panel of local leaders moderated by Michael Brown of the Seattle Foundation. 

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Washington state should be a place where all our residents have strong communities, great schools, and the chance for a bright future. Our 2017-2019 Legislative Agenda outlines the priorities we are working to advance to build a better Washington.

Testimonies in Olympia

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