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Childhood Poverty Rampant in New York State, Binghamton

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By Jason Weinstein.
Childhood poverty can have a number of effects.

"Problems with anger, acting out impulsively. There seems to be higher rates of attention deficit disorder, and emotionally things like depression and anxiety," said Dr. Michael Lavin of the Lourdes Center for Mental Health.

"It impacts school readiness. It impacts their academics which means it impacts their academics which means it impacts their graduation which means it impacts their ability to get jobs," said Luann Kida of the Broome County Promise Zone.

What's scarier than the effects of poverty is how many children have to deal with them. 2013 census numbers show 49.2 percent of children in the City of Binghamton live in poverty. A report released earlier this month by the Assembly Puerto Rican Task Force showed almost one million children in the state do the same.

"We have teenagers who talk about not eating until their siblings get done eating so they don't eat until they know there's enough for the younger kids. Those are the things that a 14-, 15-, 16-year-old shouldn't have to think about," said Kida.

Those in the field say education is the key to lifting a person out of poverty. One solution, says Luann Kida, is what's called cradle to career educational support. Early in her career Binghamton High School Principal Roxie Oberg worked at a family literacy program with parents of children aged birth through five.

"15 years later when I was working at the High School I was seeing those students who had been part of that early education program benefitting immensely," said Oberg.

The Broome County Promise Zone, which is a partnership between BOCES, Binghamton University, and the Broome County Mental Health Department develops community schools - places that can offer services like health care and programs that extend the school day.

"Anything you can do to make a young person's life better is always going to pay off," said Lavin.

According to the report by the Assembly Puerto Rican task force, 23 percent of children statewide live in poverty. that is a four-percent increase since 2010.

****In Broome County, Jason Weinstein, FOX 40 HD News****