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Poverty Remains Greatest Challenge for Kentucky Youth

Jasmin Merdan, 123rf Stock Photo

A new report shows poverty is the main obstacle facing Kentucky children.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2015 Kids Count Report shows one in four Kentucky children live in poverty, which affects their health, education, and overall well-being.  

Terry Brooks heads Kentucky Youth Advocates and says there are no overnight solutions to ending poverty, but lawmakers could put a dent in it.

“We know for instance a refundable state-earned tax credit would really make a difference in families where folks are low wage but really hard working folks," said Brooks.


Brooks says he will lobby the 2016 General Assembly to pass an earned income tax credit, as well as more restrictions on pay day lending.  

The same report showed Kentucky has made gains in health.  The child and teen mortality rate fell by 24 percent from 2008 to 2013.  The number of children lacking health insurance also showed improvement.

Brooks attributes the improvements to state-level efforts.

“The health gains began before the Affordable Care Act and whether one is for or against that, the kind of efforts that it can make, those don’t have a thing to do with the federal health care fight," said Brooks.

Kentucky ranks 34th in the nation in overall child well-being.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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