Kentucky groups aim to address issues amid spike in child poverty rate

Kentucky groups aim to address issues amid spike in child poverty rate
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 5:03 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Poverty and hunger can go hand and hand.

Advocates say these issues can affect your neighbors and often go unseen.

“For most of us its no problem to go to our cabinets or our fridge to fix that, but for a large portion of us, more than 570,000 Kentuckians, they don’t have those resources,” said Kaitlyn Jackson with Feeding America Kentucky’s Heartland.

Jackson says kids across the state are food insecure, which affects their health, schooling, and future.

“Food insecurity does range in the state. On average, it’s one in eight kids. One in seven people in general. At our highest, it’s one in four in Fulton County, Kentucky,” Jackson said.

At Kentucky Youth Advocates, Executive Director Terry Brooks says they’ve seen child poverty increase in Kentucky. Brooks says change can happen through practice, advocacy and policy.

“These kind of ideas, like a child tax credit, continued support for childcare, a state-level earned income tax credit; those ideas all are proven notions. We know they will have a big impact in the immediate,” Brooks said.

Brooks says the national track record shows that state-earned income tax credits help families and local economies.

In 2022, Kentucky Youth Advocates data showed that there were nearly 200,000 children living in poverty in the commonwealth.

Feeding America says there is a food pantry in every county in the state, and you can look up on their website to find out which pantry is closest to you.