State Commission Led by Dean Patchner Starts Work on Recommendations to Lower Childhood Poverty Rate
July 23, 2010
- Rob Schneider
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Indiana University School of Social Work Dean Michael Patchner told members of the Commission on Childhood Poverty in Indiana they have 13 months to come up with recommendations on how to lower the state’s childhood poverty rate.
The commission held its first meeting July 22 at the Indiana State House and began planning how the commission will achieve its goal of coming up with recommendations to reduce childhood poverty in Indiana by 50 percent by the year 2020.
“I can’t think of a more noble effort than to deal with children in poverty and come up with a way to reduce childhood poverty,” Patchner said. “What I want to do is what’s in the best interest of the children of Indiana to address childhood poverty,” Patchner said of the work before the commission.
Dr. Sabrina Willamson Sullenberger of the School of Social Work gave the commission with an overview on childhood poverty. She provided the commission with information that 12.9 percent of the state’s population lived in poverty, according to 2008 data. However, 17.9 percent of children under the age of 18 were considered to be in poverty that year. If just children under the age of five are considered, that number jumps to 21.9 percent in Indiana.
The commission was created by the Indiana General Assembly and is charged with identifying and analyzing the occurrence and root causes of urban and rural poverty in Indiana as well as analyzing the long term effects of poverty on a child, the child’s family and the child’s community.
It is also to analyze the costs of child poverty to municipalities in Indiana.
The commission is also to look for ways to improve services such as workforce training, education opportunities, access to affordable health care, streamlining services through public and private agencies providing human services to low income children and families.