An annual report by a child's advocacy group says child poverty rates are getting worse in Illinois: one in five children in the state lived in poverty in 2010. According to the Kids Count study released by the group Voices for Illinois Children, child poverty rates have risen for all groups in Illinois, with African Americans and Latinos continuing to be the worst off.
While the report credits the state for boosting investments in pre-K programs over the last decade, it says budget cuts have resulted in 11,400 fewer children participating in these programs. Kathy Ryg, who’s the president of Voices for Illinois Children, says focusing on early childhood development should be a top priority. She adds “we can’t just look to high school graduation rates and college degrees to determine a qualified workforce. We have to work backwards. We know that early childhood prepares a student to go to school ready to learn.”
Ryg says communities should take more of an active role in strengthening the impact of social service programs, rather than simply relying on the state or the federal government.
(story by Sean Powers)
Here's the full Voices for Illinois Children report: