Report says one in five Michigan children live in poverty


MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – According to a new Kids Count report, one in five Michigan children live in poverty, that represents a 15 percent increase since the 2008 recession.

Right now, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is working to help people live successful lives out of poverty, but some Democrats say the new budget may put that goal at risk.

Childcare costs weigh heavily on the wallets of Michigan parents, something Danielle Lobb, a nanny and expecting mother, knows well.

“It is expensive,” said Lobb.

A new Kids Count report reveals that some families who work full-time, minimum wage jobs pay up to 40 percent of their income for childcare.

As a father, Democrat Tom Cochran says Michigan families need relief.

“On minimum wage, where it is, I think it’s got to be higher,” said Rep. Cochran.

Cochran admits that raising the minimum wage probably won’t happen in the Republican led House. What’s more likely in the state’s lower chamber is tax relief through scaling back the personal income tax.

While that plan is being worked on, one Republican says he’s working with Family Promise in Grand Rapids to lower the price of rent for low income families.

“I’m trying to get a break for, for landlords that want to help out with this problem,” said Rep. Tommy Brann.

So what’s the Michigan Senate doing for families and kids in poverty?

“I think the answer is not much,” said Democrat Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr.

Newschannel 3 spoke with Sen. Hertel right after a heated budget meeting with the Department of Health and Human Services.

"The Kids Count report you are referring to is bad. These cuts will make it much, much worse,” said Sen. Hertel. “In the Health and Human Services budget, we are looking at over $100 million in GF cuts. That's a huge problem here in Michigan. These are programs that help needy kids, they are helping the working poor."

DHHS revealed their new budget on Tuesday. A spokesman for DHHS says they are still working to assist children and families affected by poverty, including working with the Kalamazoo Promise and Cradle Kalamazoo that focuses on infants and children at risk in poverty.

The Kids Count report shows that 96 percent of children in Michigan have health insurance.

A DHHS spokesman says Healthy Michigan has played a big role in ensuring children in low income families have health care.

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