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Our Children, Our Future: Community Leaders Discuss Children in Poverty Issues
Written by Whitney Wetzel
Last updated on January 29, 2013 @ 3:34PM
Created on January 29, 2013 @ 2:08PM
 
Several local organizational leaders got together in Fairmont Tuesday afternoon to see how they can improve certain conditions for children in the future.

Officials said three in 10 kids in West Virginia are living in poverty. Not only that, but the number of parents who are incarcerated or addicted to drugs and alcohol is at an all-time high. Stephen Smith, Director of WV Healthy Kids & Families Coalition, said it's up to parents, religious leaders, and legislators to stand up for our kids and change that.
 
"If you don't have a lot of money or a lot of people, you get left behind. Especially if you are young and poor and you can't vote, which children can't. So, this is the responsibility of the rest of us," said Smith.
 
The WV Healthy Kids & Families Coalition is hosting a series of "Our Children, Our Future" community planning meetings around the state this month. The goal is to gather information from local stakeholders about what issues affect children in poverty in their county or region and figure out what state leaders can do to ease those problems.
 
Tuesday's meeting was held at the Disability Action Center in Fairmont for all organizational leaders in Marion, Monongalia, Harrison, and Taylor Counties.

"We feel like, all across the state there are going to be different reasons why kids are in poverty. So, it's important for us to travel around and find out what are the real pressing issues. There are going to be three or four that all these communities share that we can present to legislators and hopefully have a stronger voice as a state," said Andrea Salina, Director of Community Strategies for WV Community Development Hub.

All of the issues and ideas gather throughout the state this month will be presented to our legislators in March.

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