4:21pm

Mon August 11, 2014
Health and Welfare

Report: Kentucky One of Worst States for Underprivileged Children

Credit guidestar.org

The director of Kentucky Youth Advocates says the most important challenge facing the state's children is poverty. 

Terry Brooks is responding to a report just released by WalletHub, a personal finance social network.  In it, Kentucky ranked 44th nationally in the percentage of children living in households with below poverty level income. 

Brooks says it is poverty which plays a key role in children's health, education, and safety.  He says some states are looking to what's called "micro enterprise zones" in poor, urban and rural areas.  "All of a sudden that low income family, that mom or dad who had an idea to start a business would get some support.  So, we support big companies very well in Kentucky.  Maybe we need to support start up family businesses to a greater extent," said Brooks.

Brooks says micro enterprise zones are often supported through local tax breaks offered to start-up businesses.

Tuesday is 'International Youth Day.'  It was so established by the United Nations in 1999.  This year's theme is 'youth and mental health.' 

Terry Brooks says mental health is an issue that deserves more attention in the Commonwealth.  "The behavioral health system for the kids in Kentucky is not an arena that needs a little bit of a fix here and a little bit of a fix there.  It needs a fundamental reform," said Brooks.

The Courier-Journal reports Jefferson County Public Schools will offer mental health counseling this year to high-risk students and their families. School officials say they hope to decrease barriers to learning and disruptions in the classroom.