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Child Poverty Persists in Connecticut

Almost 13 percent of Connecticut children live in poverty. (ikon/Pixabay)
Almost 13 percent of Connecticut children live in poverty. (ikon/Pixabay)
September 20, 2017

HARTFORD, Conn. – More than 95,000 Connecticut children still live in poverty, and advocates fear threatened state and federal budget cuts could make things worse.

Childhood poverty is down slightly in Connecticut and nationwide. Still, almost 13 percent of the state's children live below the poverty line. That's less than the national average of 18 percent.

But Mary Pat Healy, director of the Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition at LifeBridge, says budget cuts proposed by the Trump administration and the House budget in Washington could destroy what progress has been made.

"The Earned Income Tax Credits, the Affordable Care Act and SNAP are all under threat," she laments. "So even if we are seeing little progress in areas, the potential down the road could be drastic."

The Census Bureau estimates that, nationally, government food assistance, housing subsidies and cash assistance to families have helped pull millions of children out of poverty.

And Healy adds that cuts on the state level also threaten to disproportionately affect children and low-income families.

"Some of these cuts are extremely drastic," she warns. "I mean, we're looking at reductions in education funding here in Bridgeport that could be more than $7 million and we're already in a deficit here as it relates to education."

The state Legislature passed a budget late last week, but Gov. Dannel Malloy has said he will veto it.

Healy believes draconian cuts and threats to programs that people depend on not only threaten to keep families in poverty, they threaten their children's future as well.

"It's important that we invest in not only their health but their education and their safety, and I think these cuts are just sending a different message," says Healy.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT