Article from Sun Sentinel
South Florida children have been among the hardest hit by the Great Recession: Poverty among those 18 and under increased 16 percent in five years — nearly 15,000 more poor kids in Broward and Palm Beach counties, according to data released Wednesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
In Palm Beach County, the number of children in poverty was up 32 percent from 2005 through 2009, the foundation found through analyzing county Census Bureau data.
Almost three years later, those numbers are most certainly higher. The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration reported a 60 percent increase in the number of poor children on Medicaid in Broward and Palm Beach counties since 2007.
In Hollywood, the soup kitchen at the Jubilee Center of South Broward now sees mothers coming in with babies and other young children to get a hot meal — Tuesday it was a mom with 4-year-old triplets, said executive director Joyce Curtis.
She tells her staff not to cry, because the children don’t realize the desperate circumstances they are in. Instead, workers serve them ice cream as a treat and take them to a more festive area with stuffed animals. “But it is heart breaking,” Curtis said.
Overall, Florida ranked 44th out of 50 states for the economic well-being of children, according to the foundation’s 2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book.