Report reveals uptick in child poverty

More children in Michigan are living in poverty, based on a new report.
Krystle Wagner
Dec 17, 2013


The recently released 2013 Kids Count in Michigan report reveals that nearly 560,000 children live in poverty in the state. The child poverty rate increased 34 percent from 2005 to 2011.

Read the full report: Download the Kids Count in Michigan report below > (Related File).

Jane Zehnder-Merrell, the Kids Count in Michigan project director for the Michigan League for Public Policy, said that rate and the increased number of families investigated for child abuse or neglect are “very troubling trends.”

The league's report looks into 15 areas of child well-being — such as child poverty, young children participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, low-weight births, teen mothers and fourth-graders not proficient in reading. The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Skillman Foundation, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan Foundations, and United Way organizations funded the report.

Zehnder-Merrell said that although the economy has been a contributor to the recent negative trends, federal and state programs have also impacted children and families. She said the report is a “road map” to show where time and energy needs to be spent to improve conditions for children.

Although Zehnder-Merrell said the report was released during the holiday season, when people are more focused on families and giving back, this data should be a year-round focus.

From 2005 to 2012, children in families investigated for abuse or neglect rose 41 percent statewide, impacting nearly 207,000 children, which is the highest in 22 years. In Ottawa County, that number increased from 3,039 children in 2005 to 3,645 in 2012.

Leigh Moerdyke — the children, youth and families program director of Pathways, MI — said those statistics are troubling, but it could be caused by residents getting better at reporting cases and advocating for families.

Moerdyke said some families might have an economic need, or need assistance in parenting skills or counseling. She believes all parents can benefit from attending parent support groups or seeking support from friends.

“Children don’t come with a manual on how to parent them,” she said.

Statewide, there has been a 53 percent increase in the number of children who qualify for federal food assistance since 2005.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.



This is sad,an the Republicans want to cut food and medical to the poor. They now like to use the phrase "entitlements",I call them necessities. Who really has entitlements are the Politisions. I guess trickey Rickey didn't save MI or lease not the poor.


Translation: It's the Republicans fault! I think that is what he is trying to say anyway. I am not sure what neeseties or Politiions are and I can't figure out why Republicans are leasing the poor. Not sure where the fact check is or where this information is coming from though. A little documented proof would be nice to back you up.


Thank you for that, you have more adroitness and sensitivity in dealing with person(s) that have difficulty forming a lucid thought, and then translating that thought to the written page in a manner that is understandable.


I will help you with one definition: Entitlement, 1. The act or process of entitling. 2. The state of being entitled. 3. A government program that guarantees and provides benefits to a particular group: such as the Medicaid entitlement for the poor.

deuce liti

I liked how the republican president reagan took the poor person's money in taxes and handed it over to the wealthy in hopes that they would give it back to us in the ever-so-popular "trickle down theory."

Of course, they never gave it back. They took our jobs and sent them over seas and when we needed assistance they said, "get a job!"

Democrats suck too in their own way. Just try not to sound too proud of republi-cants.


Your getting closer with your edits. Keep trying. Hint: Try spell,grammar, and puctuation check while your at it. Here is what you have so far, "This is sad,an the Republicans want to cut food and medical to the poor. They now like to use the phrase "entitlements",I call them necessities. Who really has entitlements are the Politisions. I guess trickey Rickey didn't save MI or lease not the poor." I am just trying to help you with what you GHJHS teachers obviously failed you on.


You all really don't get the point,figers!,or really chose not to.


If you want to get your point across, show proof. Do some research. Your poorly written statements do not help your case at all. Take your time, do your research, calm down and bring some facts to the table. If you want to debate your case then come ready.


Exactly. Just like your dinner at Chili's. You defined the proposition; you presented the facts - what you were intending to order; you provided opposing opinions from the authorities (wife and pets); and you reported back with the actual meal that was ordered, along with a detailed critique to back up your proposition. A model for investigative reporting for us all! ;)


And to think that all started with my disgust of the slaughter of innocent plants just to save some utterly tasty cows.


"udderly" tasty cows.....

Your concern for the mass killing of innocent plants (of no particular political persuasion) was admirable; your case advocating for plant welfare was adroit; and your facts, in the form of stomach contents, were deliciously detailed.


"Udderly" The witticism used in your literary technique was definitely delightful. Even though the details mentioned are inapplicable to the master subject at hand, it is a pleasant diversion from the nugatory comments made thus far.


Nugatory! A new word for me, and one that I foresee using often! Thanks..


sick of hearing people blame the republicans, if you have 9 kids why are you having a 10th one, were already 17 trillion in debt


Da#n straight! Let's get off the "Blame the Republicans" kick - even though the severe recession that created the terrible economy that knocked a huge percentage of people into the poor house so that their children are left to suffer, was under the Republican watch.

And that 17 trillion in debt? For the love of Pete, let's not blame the Republicans who contributed $4-6 trillion of that via the Iraq/Afghan wars - again under their watch - not to mention the $8,700 killed; the 229,106 returning home with mild to severe traumatic brain injuries; about 500,00 of the 1.5 million deployed returning with PTSD and depression; and about 50% returning with some degree of hearing loss.

No, Boycotter! Let's blame the children! Let's blame the poor women who give birth to them, now that the Republicans are trying to take away their contraception, abortion, health care, economic stability and employment opportunities!

It makes life so much easier, doesn't it?


It wasn't just Republicans that created kids.


You are framing your reply out of context. I wasn't putting a party affiliation on the people who create kids. Perhaps you are inferring that people who have children and find themselves needing assistance are not Republicans. I don't think that is really where you want to go with this.

My reply to boycotter was an exasperated rebuttal to his insinuation that Republicans are not to blame for conditions that have increased the number of poor children by 58% in the last 5-6 years. As a caring citizen who feels that it is my responsibility as a concerned voter to face facts and connect the dots, I view that attitude as a dereliction of duty.


Hmmmm. Yep. You missed the fact that I was being a smart A$$. So far you are the only one that has brought any sense to this rambling nonsense.


Sorry - I better get my antenna on.....


Phew, sure glad to know that old What's His Name - I think he's been President of these United States of America for almost 5 years, has nothing to do with the various catastrophes that have impacted the country and its citizens for, oh, the past 5 years.

In fact, since the Republicans were responsible for the lousy economy over these past 5 years, since the Republicans are responsible for Obamacare (it was their idea and they had hundreds of idea incorporated into it), since they supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, since they caused the attacks on our embassy in Libya, since they drew a line in the sand in Syria, since they spent trillions on the stimulus, since they empowered the NSA to spy on us, it seems they have been hard at work, and deserve a 17 day vacation in Hawaii far more than President What's His Name, who apparently has done nothing. (Maybe Ted Cruz will bring Michelle and the children along so they don't miss out)

Of course, only the terminally dumb would believe any of the above - they are all the result of the action or inaction of Barack Hussein Obama, including the inconvenient fact that roughly 75% of the deaths of American servicemen in Afghanistan occurred on his watch. The number of children in poverty are simply another statistic in the bankruptcy of his ideas and policies.


What various catastrophes are you referring to? You seem to have an arsenal of nugatory horrors to pull from your quiver at the drop of a hat, or comment. The fact that they are glibly taken out of context; that there is no attempt to substantiate your claims; you repeatedly miss the mark; and they are arrogantly presented ("terminally dumb"?), one can only imagine your fervent wish that we be so dazzled by your presence that we forget to read between the lines.

Oh, I know - policies that attempt to help impoverished children really only push them back into deeper impoverishment and a lifetime of dependency on the government udder, and it's all Obama's fault!!


so if all republicans are gone then poverty will be over ? ?



Barry Soetoro

Correct! See: Chicago, Detroit......


Sly! I was just funnin' boycotter a bit, being in a frisky, anti-Republican mood that day. I think he understood....

Barry Soetoro

A frisky, anti-Republican mood? I'm having a hard time believing that!

papa bear

If people would stop sending help to these foreign countries we could take care of kids right here in america,makes me mad that those countries seem to be a prioroity with people instead of kids here.

retired DOC

Seems like this might apply: the rich get richer and the poor have more kids.

Former Grandhavenite

On the one hand, we as a society need to do more to help these kids. It's not like they chose to be born into a situation of poverty or abuse, and I believe we have a moral and ethical obligation to help them break out of the cycle. Head Start/preschool including healthy meals should be publicly funded and universal for anyone who wants in, as should parenting classes including nutrition and financial training.

On the other hand, we also need a major push to educate young adults on just how expensive and time consuming it is to raise kids, and make sure they truly know what they're getting into. The parents who act like kids "just happen" are often the ones who can't afford to raise them, and that stress is responsible for a lot of the physical and emotional abuse that goes on.

They should give a lesson in middle school about the average costs of raising a kid from birth through college and until they become independent (around 30 years old oftentimes), and show how much income you would need to earn to be able to raise a kid with a decent standard of living. A lot of people simply should not be having kids- or at least not until they have the maturity, willingness, and finances to take care of them.


I agree - our youth need more hands-on training, common sense finance classes, and more exposure to what real life situations cost, and how to be resourceful in dealing with them. A few days helping young mothers might help. And to address the article that discusses the increased use of tobacco products by our young people - what the...? My suggestion: make them sit through a video of people dying from tobacco-induced lung cancer, or emphysema, or better yet, actually tend to the sick and dying. Harsh? Yes - but effective.



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