Children Are Invisible Victims of California's Tanking Economy

Children Are Invisible Victims of California's Tanking Economy

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The dual problems of housing instability and joblessness are negatively affecting the well-being of California’s children, according to a new report released Wednesday.

One million children in the state -- or 7 percent -- have been impacted by foreclosure since 2007, according to figures taken from the 2011 Kids Count Data Book, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Only three states have higher rates than California, including Nevada (13 percent), Florida (10 percent) and Arizona (8 percent). The figures exclude children living in rental units, whose families may have been affected.

The report also found that children in California are paying a price due to a grim job market. About 1.2 million children in the state now have at least one unemployed parent, and about one-third of all children statewide have no parent with a full time, year-round job.

The data comes in the midst of an unprecedented housing crisis in California, in which 1.2 million homeowners have lost their homes in the last three years. The state has the second highest unemployment rate in the nation at 11.8 percent, compared to the national rate of 9.2 percent. At the same time, the state is considering more spending cuts to balance the budget, which could further erode government safety nets for children, including early childhood education, child care and health care programs.

Jessica Dalesandro Mindnich, associate director of Children Now, the California affiliate of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, says the report highlights the importance of preserving those safety net programs, and others like them, in California.

The state needs to make sure “we are not letting these kids fall through the cracks when they are particularly vulnerable,” Mindnich said.

Maeve Elise Brown, director of Oakland-based Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (HERA), a statewide nonprofit legal service and advocacy organization that served 1,600 homeowners last year, called the numbers “staggering” and “shocking.”

Brown says that policymakers haven’t adequately responded to the foreclosure crisis. The report, she says, shows that “housing stability” should be a priority because of the key role it plays in ensuring the well-being of California’s children.

“Housing stability has a significant effect on children’s ability to do well in school and potential for success as they grow up and become adults, so the implications from this report are really distressing,” she said.

Robbie Clark, lead organizer with Causa Justa/Just Cause, a housing rights group that assists residents in Oakland and San Francisco, says the report helps to elucidate a little-covered topic.

“The impact of housing instability on children in general is something that is pretty invisible,” said Clark, who added that he wasn’t surprised by the number of children impacted by foreclosure and in fact believed the number is an undercount.

“If you also add the tenant aspect, you would see almost a doubling of that number,” he said, noting that 40 percent of the units in foreclosure in California are tenant-occupied.

Brown of HERA says the stress of dealing with foreclosures wreaks havoc on family life. Stress levels are extremely high, Brown says, as parents are working multiple jobs to bring in more income. Among the clients she has counseled, she says she has seen a lot of “family break-ups,” whether divorces or separations, as kids get sent to live with relatives or friends.

“We know that the kids must be feeling the effects of what their parents are going through,” Brown said.

The social ripple effects of the foreclosure crisis on children are still not well known, Clark said. For example, how it affects school enrollment and student homelessness, particularly in neighborhoods with high concentrations of foreclosures.

For Brown, addressing housing instability goes hand in hand with job creation and economic development.

“If you don’t have a safe roof over your head, you can’t think about stable employment. You don’t have an address for employers to contact you at, [and] it’s hard to maintain your appearance to present yourself to employers,” she said. “The state needs to elevate this to be a number-one issue to work on.”

The report highlights changes in child well-being in the last decade, tracking 10 key indicators, including infant birth weight, infant mortality, child death rate, and teen birth rate.


 

Comments

 
Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

ITS TOUGH FOR THE POOR..ITS TOUGH FOR EVERYONE..EXCEPT THE RICH

Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

They are your children ... not mine ...

Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

A solution would be not to breed until you can financially afford to.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

Who cares about the children...as long as the public employee unions and their members get their treats....all is well.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

Money is the problem. If money didn't buy me food, housing, clothes, I really wouldn't care for it. Iliminate it. Lets all work , get paid inf ood and clothing based on family size. This will help and give us a better quality of life.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

Money is the problem. If money didn't buy me food, housing, clothes, I really wouldn't care for it. Iliminate it. Lets all work , get paid in food,housing and clothing based on family size. This will help and give us a better quality of life. I know what you comes to mind, Cuba but this would iliminate the gap between rich and poor and make everyone middle class
. =)

Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

I can't stand it when they keep saying "we can't let kids fall through the cracks." This coming from a state that has robbed it's children of a safe sufficient schooling experience so fat cat politicians can keep up with their special interests.
This state s**ks.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

We all know this, it's obvious, goes without saying and it's nothing more than journalistic sensationalism! Stop wasting my time!

Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

California is too busy helping Illegals and their Anchor children to worry about Americans.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

I agree, don't have children if you can't even take care of yourself without hand-outs, that actual tax payers give to these illegals! It's sickening to see so many "Californians" (ha ha, try illegals) with 3-5 kids that get everything for free! Let's start taking care of our own Americans for a change.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

I agree, don't have children if you can't even take care of yourself without hand-outs, that actual tax payers give to these illegals! It's sickening to see so many "Californians" (ha ha, try illegals) with 3-5 kids that get everything for free! Let's start taking care of our own Americans for a change.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

Don't worry.....we will retaliate for this insult to our generation. Revolution Now!

Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

I agree, don't have children if you can't even take care of yourself without hand-outs, that actual tax payers give to these illegals! It's sickening to see so many "Californians" (ha ha, try illegals) with 3-5 kids that get everything for free! Let's start taking care of our own Americans for a change.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

I agree, don't have children if you can't even take care of yourself without hand-outs, that actual tax payers give to these illegals! It's sickening to see so many "Californians" (ha ha, try illegals) with 3-5 kids that get everything for free! Let's start taking care of our own Americans for a change.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

Its all good because Obama says so.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

I'm using the Anonymous option too but not for the same reasons others may be. Children didn't ask to be born and some of you are "pro life" only when it's an embryo. Turn your back on these innocents and one day they may be taking care of you in a nursing home. Let's do the right thing and stop being so hardhearted.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

Perhaps it's time for advocacy groups, states, policymakers to suggest a two-child or less policy. Reducing population growth would help mitigate many issues facing society.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

I would approve of free hysterectemies for illegal immigrants

Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

I am in total agreement with the last few posts. I only have one child on purpose. We are quickly destroying our sacred earth. We need to focus on depleting our population not our resources. If you can't give a better life to your child, you shouldn't have any.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

How many government bureaucrats and politicians have been forclosed on or lost their jobs. It is time to eliminate state agencies like CARB who poison our ground water with carcinogenic gas additives using junk science. Why are the state legislature and Gov. Brown cutting essential services like education, police, and fire. Cut the bloated bureaucacy of all the lazy, non-productive gov't workers who collect exorbitant salaries and benefits. CA is f***ed to ever pay the pensions of these lazy, useless, non-productive employees.
The college students in CA had better start realizing that they will be the ones to have to deal with the unfunded pension liability and budget debt in the decades to come. I see future tax increases that will drive all of the productive people out of CA.
Keep protesting against the corporations until they have all left the state with their wealth-creating jobs and all you will be left with is gov't bureaucracy that does not create any wealth or jobs, but only redistributes the little wealth that remains in the state - mostly to unnecessary gov't workers.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

Public employees are not the culprit for California economic recession. The politicians mis-managed our tax money. Stop blaming on the public employees.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

Just went to Disneyland and 80% of the people there were spanish speaking hispanics. Clearly the Calworks card is accepted at Disneyland, and their children (all ten of them in each family) were having a great time. White middle class America is gone. Someday the Mexicans will not have our money to spend anymore.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

Just went to Disneyland and 80% of the people there were spanish speaking hispanics. Clearly the Calworks card is accepted at Disneyland, and their children (all ten of them in each family) were having a great time. White middle class America is gone. Someday the Mexicans will not have our money to spend anymore.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

It saddens me to share the world with such assumptive, judgemental people, such as those who dare to say "don't breed until you can financially afford to", or "your children...not mine...". Don't misunderstand this post to believe that I advocate for people who make poor choices, and then look to others to take responsibility for the results. I don't. But I do believe that it is intolerant and ignorant to assume that anyone who is struggling is automatically relegated to that category. There are millions of people in this country who made the right decision at the right time, with the right resources, and had external influences change their world dramatically. Why do we feel as a society that it is acceptable to insult those less fortunate than us? If you choose not to help, or to care, by all means, make that choice. But it does not need to come with judgement of a situation or person to whose details you are not privy. Kindness is still appropriate, even in today's selfish world.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

It saddens me to share the world with such assumptive, judgemental people, such as those who dare to say "don't breed until you can financially afford to", or "your children...not mine...". Don't misunderstand this post to believe that I advocate for people who make poor choices, and then look to others to take responsibility for the results. I don't. But I do believe that it is intolerant and ignorant to assume that anyone who is struggling is automatically relegated to that category. There are millions of people in this country who made the right decision at the right time, with the right resources, and had external influences change their world dramatically. Why do we feel as a society that it is acceptable to insult those less fortunate than us? If you choose not to help, or to care, by all means, make that choice. But it does not need to come with judgement of a situation or person to whose details you are not privy. Kindness is still appropriate, even in today's selfish world.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

It saddens me to share the world with such assumptive, judgemental people, such as those who dare to say "don't breed until you can financially afford to", or "your children...not mine...". Don't misunderstand this post to believe that I advocate for people who make poor choices, and then look to others to take responsibility for the results. I don't. But I do believe that it is intolerant and ignorant to assume that anyone who is struggling is automatically relegated to that category. There are millions of people in this country who made the right decision at the right time, with the right resources, and had external influences change their world dramatically. Why do we feel as a society that it is acceptable to insult those less fortunate than us? If you choose not to help, or to care, by all means, make that choice. But it does not need to come with judgement of a situation or person to whose details you are not privy. Kindness is still appropriate, even in today's selfish world.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 18 2011

It saddens me to share the world with such assumptive, judgemental people, such as those who dare to say "don't breed until you can financially afford to", or "your children...not mine...". Don't misunderstand this post to believe that I advocate for people who make poor choices, and then look to others to take responsibility for the results. I don't. But I do believe that it is intolerant and ignorant to assume that anyone who is struggling is automatically relegated to that category. There are millions of people in this country who made the right decision at the right time, with the right resources, and had external influences change their world dramatically. Yes, that can happen - no, it's not always an empty excuse. Why do we feel as a society that it is acceptable to insult those less fortunate than us? If you choose not to help, or to care, by all means, make that choice. But it does not need to come with judgement of a situation or person to whose details you are not privy. Kindness is still appropriate, even in today's selfish world.

Anonymous

Posted Aug 19 2011

Mean people really suck. And, its these mean people who complain the loudest when they suffer and injustice!

Anonymous

Posted Aug 19 2011

Least business-friendly state, high taxes, most illegal aliens, high unemployment, high debt... and not coincidentally, dominated by the Democratic Party

Anonymous

Posted Aug 19 2011

Least business-friendly state, high taxes, most illegal aliens, high unemployment, high debt... and not coincidentally, dominated by the Democratic Party

Anonymous

Posted Aug 20 2011

There are no riots in America only England. There are only isolated incidents of flash mobs. The riots in England have nothing to do with austerity. Youth unemployment is due to lazyness. Unemployment is holding steady around 9%. Chocolate rations have been increased.

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