Kentucky Youth Advocates

Despite improvement in the national economy in recent years, more Kentucky children were living in poverty in 2014 than the year prior, according to data released this month by the U.S. Census Bureau.

About 260,000 Kentucky children lived in poverty in 2014, accounting for more than 26 percent of the state’s kids, the Census data show. That’s a slight increase from 2013, when the rate was 25.3.

Although the one-year shift is considered statistically insignificant, it means that nearly nearly 9,000 more children lived in poverty across Kentucky during 2014 than the year before. And it confirms a steady increase in the state’s child poverty rate since the epic economic recession that began in 2008. That year, about 23 percent of Kentucky kids lived in poverty, according to an analysis of the U.S. Census data by Kentucky Youth Advocates.

It’s a trend consistent with the overall state poverty rate, which has increased from 17 percent to 19 percent since 2008, the data show.

Children living in impoverished families are more likely to find hardship in social and academic settings, said Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates.

New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau show Kentucky ranks 40th in the nation for child poverty.

The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey says 25.3 percent of Kentucky children lived in poverty in 2013, which is a little more than three percent higher than the national average.

The latest Census Bureau figures also include child poverty rates for Kentucky counties with populations of over 65,000 people:

  • Boone County   12.5%
  • Bullitt County     13.8%
  • Campbell County  24.8%
  • Christian County  15.0%
  • Daviess County  20.9%
  • Fayette County  23.2%
  • Hardin County   20.7%
  • Jefferson County  22.4%
  • Kenton County  22.4%
  • McCracken County  31.9%
  • Madison County  21.3%
  • Pike County  25.7%
  • Warren County  22.5%

Kentucky Youth Advocates director Terry Brooks says anything that can be done to alleviate the number of economically distressed young people will pay off down the road.

A report says Kentucky has among the highest percentages of children who have had three or more adverse experiences in their homes.

Those experiences include divorce, an incarcerated parent or substance abuse in their homes. And research suggests that those experiences can negatively affect children for years.

The Kids Count: First Eight Years report released Monday says 10 percent of Kentucky kids have experienced three or more of those factors.

That’s ties Montana for the highest percentage in the U.S.

Report Finds Increasing Effort to Protect Children

Sep 16, 2013

A new report that found increasing efforts to protect Kentucky children from abuse is drawing cautious praise from child advocates.  According to the report released by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, child welfare workers confirmed almost 15% more cases of neglect and abuse last year than in 2011.

Kentucky Youth Advocates Director Terry Brooks says the report shows child welfare officials are serious about trying to make improvements in the system.                                                                                                               

Preliminary figures show nine children died and 27 nearly died in the fiscal year that ended June 30th, which is a decrease from the previous year. Federal statistics show that in recent years, Kentucky has ranked among the worst in the nation for deaths associated with child abuse.