Study: WI childhood poverty level grew more than double national avg.

By: Martha Boehm Email
By: Martha Boehm Email

LA CROSSE, WI (WEAU)--The economic conditions of the last few years took their toll on a lot of Wisconsin’s families. Single mother Amber Fricke says they’re a big part of what makes it tough for her and her two young boys to make ends meet.

"I haven’t worked in a year and a half," Fricke said. "It’s really hard for me to find a job, especially with two kids and trying to find childcare."

That’s why human services departments are trying to help. The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families (WCCF) says La Crosse County has seen about a 40% increase in the number of children living in poverty during the last decade. It defines poverty as a family of four living on about $22,000 or less per year.

"Here in Wisconsin, we’ve seen a real increase in childhood poverty in the last decade," said WCCF Executive Director Ken Taylor. "Our rate of childhood poverty has raised 42% as a state, which is more than double the national average.”

Taylor says today’s “Wiskids Count Community Conversation” is aimed at raising awareness of the problem of childhood poverty and helping organizations work together to get more people the help they need.

"In terms of using resources more wisely, come January 1, in our juvenile detention center, we’ll have a new long-term program track that allows us to help youth in the community that we formally sent out of county at great cost," said La Crosse County Human Services Director Jason Witt.

Fricke says she’s thankful for the current county programs like food stamps. They’re helping her get by in tough economic times.

"Sometimes you gotta go and actually get on their case about giving you help because if you don’t ask for it, you’re not going to receive it," Fricke said.

She just hopes the payoff is a stable job, so her families’ next few years aren’t spent dealing with a problem that too many families in Wisconsin face right now.

Taylor says within the next two weeks, the WCCF will travel to three other cities across the state. Then they’ll take feedback from panelists and area organizations back to Madison to present recommendations on how to combat the problem to state legislators.

You can find more information on childhood poverty in Wisconsin by visiting:

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  • by Anonymous on Sep 13, 2011 at 08:19 AM
    Thanks Scott Walker! Can't wait to see what the Wisconsin poverty level is a year from now. Scary!!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Sep 13, 2011 at 09:44 AM in reply to
      Get real! You are blaming Scott Walker for this? "About 46.2 million people, or nearly 1 in 6, were in poverty. That's up from 43.6 million, or 14.3 percent, in 2009. It was the highest level since 1983." Correct me if I'm wrong here but Scott Walker was not the govenor in 2009 & 2010. THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN DOYLE!
  • by lori Location: elk mound on Sep 13, 2011 at 07:42 AM
    They need to look at some of the small community's and getting help to the poeple working parttime with no help for medical or dental help or housing these pople are trying too but are between a rock and a hard place
  • by James Location: Cameron on Sep 13, 2011 at 07:13 AM
    Please read the full story before posting ignorant comments! Fricke states she has not worked in a year and a half, which is before Walker took office. “Here in Wisconsin, we’ve see a real increase in childhood poverty in the last decade”…again which is before Walker too office. It is apparent that the policies of the previous administration were a failure. Walker is in the same situation that Obama is in, trying to repair all the damage he inherited from an incompetent previous administration.
  • by Louise on Sep 13, 2011 at 06:13 AM
    Let's see - Scott Walker has been in office for 8 months - Obama has been in for almost 3 years. Why aren't you blaming Obama?
    • reply
      by Johnny on Sep 13, 2011 at 07:47 AM in reply to Louise
      Louise, I agree. In the article with its definitive time frame of "last few years" does reflect policy of the Obama administration. I wish some would use their reasons of deduction and do the math before posting a diatribe of elected officials that do not adhere to the author's viewpoints.
  • by John Jay on Sep 13, 2011 at 05:07 AM
    If it was me in this situation i would call up gov dropout and say whera are all those jobs you said was coming? Oh thats right they are part time jobs that give nothing but a low wage and everone knows that you cant raise a family on low wages.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Sep 13, 2011 at 05:30 AM in reply to John Jay
      You can if you do what I did when doyle was gov. Work two jobs.
  • by Ann on Sep 12, 2011 at 06:26 PM
    maybe Scott Walker should read this and give you a job since he is creating so many
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Sep 13, 2011 at 08:14 AM in reply to Ann
      "County has seen about a 40% increase in the number of children living in poverty during the last decade". That was a decade of almost unopposed Democrats in control. It's pathetic that the koolaid kids can't think past their union newsletter. The nation will catch up soon if we don't get rid of the Democrats in the White House and Senate.
      • reply
        by Ron on Sep 13, 2011 at 12:45 PM in reply to
        And you think the Republicans will help this statistic..HA HA They are the ones who cut programs that fight poverty.
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