Winnebago County child poverty rate higher than the state averag - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Winnebago County child poverty rate higher than the state average

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WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WREX) -

When a child grows up in poverty, it can have adverse effects on the child's schooling, physical health and social-emotional development.

One Rockford single mother, Taneeka Walker says she has lived below the poverty line and kids living in these situations can still have a bright future.

"You could never go up to my son and ask him 'well I heard you've stayed in a shelter' he's not going to know that because he didn't feel like that," says Walker.

Financial issues left Walker and her son dependent on the Women's Crisis Center.

While staying there, Walker also attended school.

After a year, Shelter Care placed Walker and her son into a more permanent housing option.

"As long as he is able to function and be happy and still be able to do the normal stuff that a seven year old does then I'm doing something right," says Walker.

According to the Illinois Kids County 2015 annual report, the child poverty rate in Winnebago County jumped 27% in 2012.

That's 6% higher than the statewide child poverty rate.

"We can't help children unless we help families," says Paul Logli, United Way of Rock River Valley President and CEO.

Logli says his group and others are trying to find ways to work together on this issue.

"The solution to many of our problems is getting people prepared, motivated and comfortable with seeking the employment that pays a living way," adds Logli.

They plan to meet with local lawmakers, the governor and others to raise awareness.

Walker's advice to other single moms who may be struggling to get by is to not give up.

"Don't allow what people tell you or what's going on around you, to affect your outlook on life because at the end of the day you are the one that makes that ultimate decision," says Walker.

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