The Times West Virginian

Opinion

February 1, 2013

Our state must stop the vicious cycle of poverty affecting children

Poverty is a vicious cycle.

And we don’t use the word “vicious” lightly.

And when it affects children, and it most certainly does in the Mountain State, we can’t allow a word like “vicious” to be taken lightly. And considering that 30 percent of children under the age of 6 live in poverty in West Virginia, we have got to do more than just collect figures and data. We have to look at the problem and determine how best to deal with it.

Impoverished children often don’t have the support system in place they need to succeed in school or in extracurricular activities. That lack of success not only limits opportunities for advanced training or education needed to start careers, but it also serves as a deterrent from graduating from high school.

With no training or degree, the cycle continues for so many. Children are brought into the equation through teen pregnancy, who are many times left to be raised by grandparents on fixed incomes or single parents not even living paycheck to paycheck.

And unfortunately, that sometimes leads to desperation. Substance abuse, domestic incidents, violence and crime occur at a much higher rate for those living below the poverty line.

And considering that the state of West Virginia pays $23,674 per inmate incarcerated per year, we say the system is a little upside down.

If we combat the issue of childhood poverty now then the soaring and overwhelming cost of incarcerations will eventually decline.

Kids need a chance. We need to invest in our children.

We believe that is starting to happen in our state. Six months ago, the Healthy Kids and Family Coalition started the “Our Children, Our Future: Campaign to End Child Poverty.” The problem is that impoverished families and children don’t have high-paid lobbyists or voices to speak on heir behalf. And when it comes to cuts in budgetary line items, the cuts often come from programs that help needy families with day care, after-school care or health programs.

Volunteers and representatives from programs that help children in poverty met this week to discuss the issues. There’s a forum planned for March in Fairmont when those organizations will speak on behalf of the children and ask for the support of state lawmakers.

“The strength of this is that it’s everybody coming together,” said Stephen Smith, director of the Healthy Kids and Family Coalition. “It was a really lively conversation, and I think ultimately it was a productive one.

“It took a generation for us to get to the mess that we’re in,” he said. “All of these things are in front of us, and if we only work for the next two months it will be a nice little project, but the real question is can we keep this kind of momentum.”

We certainly hope so. They say it takes a village to raise a child. Our village has to be willing to to stop this vicious cycle of poverty and invest money when it could have an impact — early childhood — and spend less resources when it’s too late.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Laws to keep mudslinging to minimum can stife free speech

    By nature, and by profession, we do not like lies. As journalists, we’re truth tellers. Or at least we attempt to get at the truth through research, attribution, documents and comments from people on either side of an issue.
    Sometimes it ends up with “telling lies from both sides,” as a crusty reporter once mused a handful of years ago.

    April 24, 2014

  • COLUMN: Freedom of Information — if you can pay

    Several years ago, I made a Freedom of Information request to a local government agency. Within the five business days, as required by law, a packet of information was delivered to the office. I expected a bill, as most government offices have a charge that ranges from 25 cents to $1.25 per page for copies of the documents we request.

    April 20, 2014

  • The reassuring spirit of Easter: One of new hope and beginnings

    During the sub-zero and snow-filled months of winter, we maintained a spirit of hope that spring was on the way. It has now become a reality as all nature stretches and yawns and awakens once more to a new beginning. The fragrance of spring awakens our waiting nostrils, the budding beauty of new life brightens our eyes, and the reassuring idea of renewal stimulates our minds.

    April 20, 2014

  • Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated

    Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.
    During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.

    April 18, 2014

  • Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives

    A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
    Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
    The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.

    April 17, 2014

  • State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary

    Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
    For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
    Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.

    April 16, 2014

  • Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better

    When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
    So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.

    April 13, 2014

  • COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable

    Instant.
    That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
    But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
    Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!

    April 13, 2014

  • Decision to be an organ donor can save lives

    Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
    So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.

    April 11, 2014

  • Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community

    Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
    Marion County is full of volunteers.
    They read to our youth.
    They assist nonprofit agencies.
    They serve on boards and committees.
    And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.

    April 10, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads