Number of city children below poverty line on the rise

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NYU organizations are teaming up with private and public institutions to pinpoint the growing problem of poverty among New York City children.

According to a recent biannual report by the Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, one in three New York City children live below the federal poverty line. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the 2013 poverty line is $23,550 for a household of four. This statistic has risen to nearly 30 percent, up from 26.5 percent in 2008. CCCNY cites high unemployment rates, lower incomes and higher rents as possible causes of the current child poverty rate.

“Our most recent data shows that the impact of the recession is still very much being felt by low-income families, particularly those with children,” said Courtney Wolf, a senior policy associate at CCCNY.

Details of the report revealed a racial disparity among impoverished children. Latino children had a 39.4 percent poverty rate, which is much higher than the 29.8 percent average.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s most recent budget proposal will cut $217.9 million in essential children’s services, including child care, and runaway and homeless youth services. However, certain organizations, including NYU Langone Medical Center, Bellevue Hospital and New York City’s Administration for Children’s Service, are launching an initiative to use a web-based screening and assessment system aimed at more accurately detecting children at risk and connecting them with the appropriate help.

As the director of the Child Study Center at Langone and the chair of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Glenn Saxe is proud of the school’s involvement.

“A big priority for me is to take our expertise and make it really useful in the world so that we have an impact. I think this is a pivotal role that medical schools and universities can and should play,” Saxe said.

The CCCNY report coincided with President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, which espoused the importance of protecting and developing our nation’s youth by investing in early education.

Reports by the CCCNY have successfully initiated action in the past. This year’s efforts by the NYU Langone program may help to prevent the burden of child services from falling entirely in the hands of New York City.

Daniel Huang is a contributing writer. Email him at cstate@nyunews.com.

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