8:58am

Mon June 24, 2013
Health

Poverty Continues To Drag Down Colorado Kids, Survey Finds

A new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation says poverty is continuing to impact the state’s children. 

The annual KIDS COUNT Data Book [.pdf], released Monday, says the number of children in the state living in high poverty areas quintupled over the last decade.

The problem stretches beyond families who are poor, says Colorado Children’s Campaign President and CEO Chris Watney.

"We see that kids who are surrounded by concentrated poverty also are more likely to suffer from harmful levels of stress and behavioral and emotional problems, no matter what their family's income is," Watney tells Colorado News Connection.

Summit County is one area hit especially hard by the economic downturn that began in 2008. The resort community took a big hit as the economy crashed, and the recent weather trend hasn't helped.

"The lack of snow last year was sort of like pouring salt in... the proverbial open wound," says Tamara Drangsteveit with the Summit County Family and Intercultural Resource Center. "A lot of families who had just managed to hold on through the recession then found that last winter they again had fewer hours than they anticipated."

According to the survey, the child poverty rate in Summit County doubled between 2005 and 2011.

There is some good news in the data for Colorado. The number of children in the state without health insurance is declining, and children are showing a small increase in test scores.

This year Colorado placed 21st in the country in terms of overall child well-being, up from 22 last year.