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In the state of Ohio, many considerable efforts are continually being made to try to eliminate the issues of poverty that are affecting our youth. When determining whether or not a child is living in poverty, many facts are looked at; such as, where the child lives, who they live with, whether or not the parents or parent works, and what is the mental health status of the parents is, and does the family qualify for any services? These are the key factors that are investigated when an individual is asked to declare that a family is in fact living in poverty. Bastos, A. & Michado, C. (2009) Child Poverty: A Multydimensional Measurement.
The issues these poverty stricken children face daily can be a nightmare. Some go hungry due to lack of, or not the right nourishing foods. Some get sick, and the parents cannot afford health insurance, much less be able to take the child to the doctor and pay the full out of pocket cost. Many of these children live in poorly maintained housing in poorly maintained neighborhoods. Some of the younger ones receive poor child care and in some cases, end up being babysat by someone who just places them in front of a television set all day. The areas that most of these families live in are lacking decent before and after school programs, recreation centers, or any facility that graces the children with somewhere safe to socialize with their peers while not in school, and the parents are at work or school. National Center for Children in Poverty Mailman School of Public Health Columbia University (2006).
The home environment and interaction with the parents are the biggest factors for these children. Children whom live in lower quality homes are more likely to lack in social skills, academic skills, they are less likely to be exposed to healthy peers, and are at risks for physical or mental illness in childhood, and quite possibly as adults later in life, too. The relationship interaction between the children and the parents are vital. Parents in low income families are likely to not interact with the children in a healthy manner, due to embarrassment, low self esteem, or stress, which all seem to reflect on the children in some way or another. Brooks, J. & Duncan, V. (1999), The Effects of Poverty on Children.
There are many forms of suffering these children in poverty live through daily. Lack of proper foods, lack of healthcare, lack of proper child care, lack of healthy living space, lack of clothing, and lack of healthy peers, just to name off a few. Exposure to criminal activity and other behavior issues are risks these children also face. Census Bureau Annual Social and Economics Supplements of the U.S. Current Population Survey From (2004), (2005), & (2006). The results of the Census Bureau Survey are extremely high in the percentages they present; In Ohio, approximately 36% of the children are living in poverty, and 8% have no health care coverage at all. (2004), (2005), & (2006).
Efforts to break these cycles of children living in poverty are constantly being put into place. Some of the goals include, but are not limited to, expanding health care plans for the underpaid workers in Ohio, Making arrangements that would provide the same academic tools and education to the children that the children living in better neighborhoods get, as well as creating healthy before and after school programs. Another goal would entail making college more affordable so that people can receive an equal chance as someone who was able to pay for school, to work for the same good paying company. Efforts are also being continually made to try to widen the guidelines so more low income families can qualify for food stamps. Another goal the state would like to achieve would be to help these families develop and keep better housing arrangements, www.bgsu.edu (2009).
In May of 2008, The Ohio Anti - Poverty Task Force was developed by Govenor Ted Strickland, Ted Landsman, Director of the governor's office, and over 300 other Ohioans from different faith organizations, non - profit foundations, labor leaders, and State Agency Representatives. The task Force was brought together to make a plan that would lessen the numbers of people living in poverty. Many suggestions were documented in the final report. The report states that investments are being made to create more, better paying jobs in Ohio and those efforts will be made to expand healthcare so that even low income families can obtain medical coverage. These are only a few of the suggestions documented. This alone should indicate some amazing changes in the near future for the low income families of Ohio.
An advocate could form groups of volunteers for most of these issues these children are facing. Teachers could volunteer to take turns rotating and be with the young children before and after school where they could tutor or mentor these children. Medical students could try to volunteer at income based clinics for credits toward their degree's, not to mention to get some doctors office experience that would look good on their resume'. Neighborhoods could band together in crime watch and clean up teams to keep their streets safer for the children whom live there. And last but not least, just by being a little bit neighborly, people can help each other by passing no longer needed cloths or household goods to someone who does need it, or by baking a casserole that is way too much, and taking half of it next door where a family just might need a decent home cooked meal because all they ate that day was a bologna sandwich. So in reality, the battle lies with us. We have to help ourselves, and each other, or this monster we call poverty will never leave us, not even for a short while.
Bates, A. & Machado, C. (2009) Child Poverty: A Multydimensional Measurement
Brooks - Gunn, J. & Duncan, V. (1999) the Effects of Poverty on Children
The National Center for Children in Poverty Mailman School of Public Health Columbia University (2006)
The Ohio Anti - Poverty Task Force Report 365K-PDF adobe
United States census Bureau Annual Social and Economic Survey (2004) (2005) & (2006)