By Steve Klamkin WPRO News
More than one in five children in Rhode Island are part of families living below the poverty line, the highest rate among New England states, according to a newly issued study.
“It is a shocking number but not a surprising number,” said Elizabeth Burke Bryant, Executive Director of the policy group Rhode Island Kids Count, which issued the finding in a report: “Child Poverty in Rhode Island”.
“I think it really is an alarm bell. It’s far too many of our children living in poverty. We know the ramifications living in poverty has on their development and there are things we can do,” Burke Bryant said.
Burke Bryant led a roundtable discussion among policy makers Thursday to talk about the impact on children, and potential remedies, including better educational opportunities, access to nutritious foods for children and job opportunities for parents.
“Childhood poverty is simply a measure of the incomes of the households in which they live. So as our economy recovers, as we get more good jobs that bring families out of poverty, I think that there are some rays of hope ahead.”
She said state leaders, including Governor Gina Raimondo, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed understand the dimensions of the problem, and will be receiving copies of the group’s latest report.