More of Mississippi's children live in poverty today than in 2008. That's according to a new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation which ranks Mississippi last in the nation for the economic well-being of children.
This year, about 950 kids are enrolled in the Central Mississippi Boys and Girls Club's Summer Program. That's up nearly 50 percent over last year. Penney King is the club's president. She says a majority of the children that participate in Club activities live in poverty.
"A majority of the kids are coming from areas where it's a pretty hard walk in life," Kings says. "Most of our young people have not even seen beyond their four blocks of the world."
A report released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds the number of children living in poverty in Mississippi is on the rise. In 2008, roughly 30 percent of children in Mississippi lived in poverty; today that number is 34 percent. The report also shows that a nearly 4 percent increase in the number of children who have parents who lack secure employment.
Linda Southward is with Mississippi Kids Count -- the organization that helped collect the information. She says increasing access to early childhood education could have a lasting impact on children.
"If this state can invest in children early and consistently in a comprehensive manner, I really feel think that we could have different conversations about where Mississippi's rankings could be in future years."
While Mississippi saw declines in the economic status of children, the report says the state did see gains in education, moving into the 48th spot nationally.