More Michigan children living in poverty since 2008

- Almost 17 percent of MI children live in high-poverty neighborhoods, but the rate is 55 percent for African American kids and 29 percent for Latino children. Last year, Kalamazoo County was 44th.

According to the report, the amount of children living in poverty in Ottawa County was 9.2 percent in 2015, compared to a state average of 22.2 percent. In 2015, that number increased to 481,421. Last year, the county was ranked second in the state. According to the report, while one in five MI children lived in poverty in 2015, the rates are significantly worse for children of color, almost 50% for African-American kids and 30% for Latino kids.

"We need to be thinking about policy reforms to institutions and systems that have created and continue to allow these inequities to continue", said Kids Count in Michigan Project Director at the Michigan League for Public Policy, Alicia Guevara Warren.

More children are getting placed in out-of-home care because of abuse.

"The Michigan League for Public Policy has been fighting to protect Michigan kids since 1912, but child poverty is just as pressing now as it was then", said Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy.

The newly released 2017 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book examined a number of factors that contribute to overall child well-being including economic security, health and education.

The county finished 47th in the statewide listing.

- "Raise the Age" of juvenile jurisdiction from 17 to 18 years old.

Although there are subsidized programs available, less than 1 percent of Ottawa County residents and less than 2 percent statewide use the programs. She said they also hope the data helps local communities dive deeper into what's going on so they can develop appropriate programs.

Vanessa Coleman

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