Local Agencies Team Up For “Our Children Our Future Campaign”
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) — Children face obstacles every day. There is a high number of children in West Virginia struggling with poverty, lack of food, and child neglect.
One in four children in West Virginia live in poverty, but over half of the students in the state are on free and reduced lunch.
Money is not the only struggle kids in the state face. About one child for every three classrooms is known to be neglected or abused. We’re told the actual number of those children are much higher because the kids never tell anyone.
The State Director for Prevent Child Abuse West Virginia, Jim McKay, says the issues come from a poor economy, low wages and under or un-employment.
That’s why local agencies are proposing a platform through the “Our Children Our Future Campaign.”
Local agencies have come up with 11 ways to combat the issues including things like increasing the minimum wage and expanding medical benefits for children.
McKay says by starting programs for kids at a young age, even from pregnancy, you’re stopping the problem before it starts.
He says if you invest in the kids early, you’re not just helping the kids but the economy down the road. He says it’s hard to convince law makers and public officials to pay now instead of paying later.
“We have mandates to build prisons and so forth. We know what will keep kids out of that path and ultimately we want to encourage people to invest more in the play pen then we do in the state pen,” says McKay.
McKay says some of the sources that are already available to help alleviate these problems are facing budget cuts. He says right now, they’re just focusing on fighting to keep what money they have.
A public forum about these issues with law makers will be Thursday, February 20th at Enslow Presbyterian Church in Huntington at 5:30pm.