Burlington, May 11, 2005 - Last week during Youth Week the energy, capacities and achievements of children and youth were highlighted and celebrated. However, President Dick Stewart of Community Development Halton explains, "some children are denied recreation and social opportunities because of poverty. The capacity of these children and youth to excel is curtailed, which not only affects them as individuals but also influences their contribution to social and economic development."
"Poverty is like a disease it affects every aspect of your being," says Dr. Joey Edwardh, Executive Director of Community Development Halton. "In order for the communities of Halton to be truly inclusive, we must ensure that everyone has, at the very least, the opportunity to fully participate in society and poverty deters participation."
The widespread affluence of the Halton community often overshadows the reality of poverty and as a result many Halton residents are insensitive to the fact that there are low income people living in their communities. For example, in Halton, 5,830 children aged 0-14 and 3,785 youth aged 15-24 belong to low income families. This translates to:
Also, the percentage of children living in poverty differs greatly by where they live in Halton. Indeed, there are certain areas in both Oakville and Burlington where the percentage of children aged 0-14 living in poverty falls between 23% and 45 % of the entire 0-14 age population. This concentration of poverty in certain areas is indicative of the widening gap between the rich and the poor.
Children are poor because their families are poor; families are poor because of inadequate income. "That there are many children living in poverty is not a function of unchangeable economic laws," adds Dr. Edwardh. "Instead, the child poverty rate is determined by the political will and corresponding social policies of governments. This is one of the reasons why child poverty rates fluctuate in different countries, provinces and cities."
This Report Card discusses what individuals and groups can do to end child and youth poverty; among them are some of the following:
The Report Card on Child Poverty 2005 can be found online at www.cdhalton.ca
For more information, contact:
Senior Social Planner