UVA Study: 1 in 3 VA Children Lives in Economic Insecurity
One in three children across Virginia - including the city of Charlottesville - lives in economic insecurity according to a new report from the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center on childhood poverty.
The researchers used a fairly new method developed last year at the center to analyze the issue. The study looks at children both in and near the poverty threshold.
Weldon Cooper Center researchers used a standard called the Virginia Poverty Measure to get a snapshot of the financial struggle many families face in Virginia.
“It really gives us a good picture of not just how much money someone makes, but how that money can get allocated and what the kind of constraint on household resources are,” said Megan Juelfs-Swanson, research assistant.
According to the most recent state-wide analysis from 2011, 13 percent of children lived in poverty and 18.5 percent lived near poverty.
“For a family of four, in poverty would be making about $29,000 a year or less and that includes benefits from social safety net programs,” said Annie Rorem, policy associate.
They looked at the issue across the three family structures of married parents, cohabitating parents, and single parents. The study shows that almost half of the children in or near poverty live in a home with married parents.
“We need to broaden our policy imagination. We need to look beyond these family structures to other types of situations,” said Juelfs-Swanson.
Those options can be support from a group like Charlottesville-based Children, Youth, and Family Services.
“High quality childcare is important for a children's development and helping families have access to high quality care is something we can help them with. We also have support programs for parents who are stressed and overburdened with the demands of their family situation,” said Jacki Bryant, CYFS director
The researchers say they hope this report encourages policy makers to expand options for all kids in poverty.