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Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Why are our children being left behind?


This story was originally posted at The Voices Project. There was not one of this post I could leave out. Here, in plain old black and white, is exactly what I've been reporting with regards to children's services in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I'm not making this up. Poor children are NOT served by the Commonwealth. The disparity between rich and poor in this state is severe, much more severe than in other states. The rich get much much richer, the poor lose their services and are destined to suffer because the Commonwealth gave up caring when they started appointing Republicans as governors. Mitt Romney was the worst, by far, but the legacy of depriving the poor goes back a long way, all the way back to Bill Weld.

I wish I could find one untrue statement in this article, but I can't. It honestly is this bleak, if not bleaker. All I can say is, if you know that you have spare funds and you live in the Commonwealth, give generously not just during the holiday season, but the year round. The poor depend upon your generosity because the Commonwealth will not provide even basic funding.

And again I beseech you, please talk to your federal representatives about the punitive poverty level. As long as the poverty level is calculated at 1960's levels, NOTHING will change about how the poor are served in this country. If you care about averting such gross poverty, the only thing that will really count, beyond social services, beyond government handouts, beyond anything else, is to change the Federal poverty levels, count geographic differences, and to raise the level so that it is fair across the board.
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ChildThe cover headline of yesterday's Boston Metro blared "Mass.'s poor children are being left behind" and "Child welfare report ranks state dead last in caring for needy kids." The headline is not nearly as shocking to those, like myself, that have or know children living in poverty unable to gain the early childhood development supports they need from lack of funding, age restrictions, and/or accessibility. The article cites a report by the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation, stating:

"The report ranks the Commonwealth 50th in the well-being of low-income children based on over 102,000 interviews nationwide that focused on health status, social and emotional well-being, cognitive development and educational attainment, family activities, family and neighborhood context, and socio-economic characteristics. …Among the six categories, Massachusetts ranked last in health status and in social and emotional well-being for low-income children. It was 49th in cognitive development and educational attainment."

The article adds:

"Despite the state’s dismal showing in terms of low-income children [that is, children living in household that earn less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level], it ranked 21st for those in high-income families and 26th overall. Because of this Massachusetts had the largest disparity of ranking from high- to low-income children."

According to recent reports, Massachusetts is the 5th wealthiest state in the nation (CNN). So, how can a wealthy state like ours—with one of the lowest percentages of children living in poor households in the nation—be ranked the lowest when it comes to child welfare and well-being in essential categories such as health and cognitive development?!

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3 Comments:

Blogger Julie Pippert said...

This is one reason we left MA. We *were* the poor people of Boston-area. Public schools in our area were questionable, but we couldn't afford private. And cost of living among other factors ultimately forced a hard choice. So we're here now, and it's mostly good. It's good in all the ways we were looking for, anyway.

Julie
Using My Words

29/11/07 2:37 PM  
Blogger Julie Pippert said...

Let me amend one of my statements:

We were the *comparatively* poor.

There is no reason two college degreed (and then some) working professionals should have been so low on the economic ladder but we were...and if we cold barely peddle along, I shudder and wonder how those who earned less than us managed.

Julie
Using My Words

29/11/07 2:40 PM  
Blogger craziequeen said...

Even the 'best bred and fed' towns and cities have their poor and their destitute.

Hi Margalit - here in the UK we try to make things even - but it's an impossible task.

cq

30/11/07 3:09 PM  

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