Child Poverty Rises

A new report from Voices For Illinois Children shows child poverty is on the rise in DuPage County.

Voices for Illinois Children puts out the Illinois Kids Count Project every year to monitor the well being of children in the state.

This year the trends in our area aren’t very positive. Child poverty is increasing in DuPage County at a higher pace than the statewide average.

Positive Parenting DuPage is the county hub for Voices For Illinois Children and they’re responsible for educating the area.

“We hold the Kids Count Symposium to educate especially in DuPage on the statistics, percentages, increases, decreases and trends that we’re seeing pertaining to many different topics,” said Courtney Simek, Executive Director of Positive Parenting DuPage.

Between 2006 and 2011 the number of children living in poverty in DuPage County increased by 66%f.

“This is our new reality. Poverty is sticking around DuPage County. It isn’t going to go away,” said Kim Perez, Executive Director of People’s Resource Center. “And there are community solutions to making a difference. And the work of People’s Resource Center is a good example. Bringing neighbors together to help neighbors is a strategy based in community. We’re a community powered, community supported organization.”

DuPage County is known for its affluence, but shifting demographics are challenging that idea.

Positive Parenting DuPage, People’s Resource Center, and Loaves & Fishes see firsthand the need in the community everyday.

“We see a lot of families come in. In over the last three years at Loaves and Fishes, we’ve had a 115% increase in households with children enrolling for our services,” said Charles McLimans, CEO of Loaves and Fishes. “Ending child hunger is one of our highest priorities because nearly 47% of the people enrolled at Loaves and Fishes are children.”

“The unique thing about suburban poverty versus the city is that there aren’t distinct areas. There’s poverty in every town, in every area of DuPage County,” said Perez.

Local not-for-profits are working to help people in need and offering the new residents in the county resources to make sure they can live their lives to the fullest.

“If we all work together from many different angles to effectively educate parents the more sustainable they’re going to be able to promote the really healthy development and raising well-nurtured children,” said Simek.

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