Lufkin child advocacy groups helping change child poverty ratings

Lufkin child advocacy groups helping change child poverty ratings
Natalie Thornton, CASA Executive Director. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Natalie Thornton, CASA Executive Director. (Source: KTRE Staff)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A new report released this month shows the number of children living in poverty in Texas hasn't changed in the past three years.

According to a national data analysis by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Texas ranks in the bottom 10 states of children's well being.

1 in 4 Texas children live in poverty and many of those children live right here in East Texas.

"A high percentage of our children are on reduced lunch or free lunch in the area," said Court Appointed Child Advocates Executive Director, Natalie Thornton.

Texas ranks 43rd out of 50 in the united states for the overall well being of children.

The study shows children living in poverty have gone up since 2005, with 19% of children living in high poverty neighborhoods.

The number of children living with parents who don't have a secure job has also gone up by 30%.

Thornton said she believes two factors are to blame.

"As far as our area the poverty situation a lot is lack of industrialized good jobs for some of the people in our community and unfortunately drug abuse," Thornton said.

Thornton adds some areas are getting better.

"A lot of these statistical areas things are getting better, such as teen births, teen births have went down significantly," Thornton said.

Not only are less teens getting pregnant, but more moms are getting the education they need to get better and higher paying jobs.

"More girls now are more likely to go to college, they are more likely to major in math and science when in the past, maybe 50 years ago 75 years ago it wasn't as much a predominantly accepted thing that females value their education and move on," Thornton said.

Thornton believes that as long as the community stays educated on the problems the numbers will progress.

"Education has made things a lot better because a lot of the time people know…there is just things that aren't acceptable in our society that were generationally allowed at certain times," Thornton said.

CASA said one of the many ways they are trying to curb theses statistics is by teaching kids about the importance the choices they make in life.

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