Local News

Cumberland Partnership Helps Kids Living in Poverty

Posted July 28, 1999

— Raising children can be tough, and the job is more challenging when parents live on a tight budget.

InCumberland County, 30 percent of all children under the age of six are living in poverty.

TheCumberland County Partnership for Childrenwanted to know more about the state of children and family. They hope the results of a comprehensive study will help them put their time and resources in the right places.

Amanda Couey, 18, is cooing over her new son, but times are not easy.

She is a single, working mom and student. She lives with her mother to help make ends meet. Together, they make less than $20,000 a year.

According to a new community report, 29 percent of all infants in Cumberland County are born to single mothers. Couey and many other families with low incomes rely on help with child care and health care.

"The stress of not being able to know how you're going to meet basic needs is going to hurt the well-being of parents. Therefore, they don't have the emotional resources to devote time and energy to their kids," said Dr. Betty Rintoul, a clinical research psychologist.

The Partnership for Children is trying to devote time to fixing that problem.

The report also found that one out of three families does not know about services available to them. The agency is now committed to more public education.

"People have limited income. There are resources out there, and we want to be able to connect people with those resources so we can make family income stretch further," explained Eva Hansen, executive director of Partnership for Children.

Couey did not know about any programs until the Partnership contacted her. She is thankful for their help and hopes other families can also get it.

"If they hadn't actually come out and called me and asked me if I wanted their help, I'd be really struggling with money," said Couey.

The community report also found a desire among parents for more flexible child care.

Children's emotional well-being is more of a concern to parents than other health-related issues.


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