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One-Third of Children in Poverty, Report Says

The city must respond with "a sense of urgency" to the issue of poverty, council member Marion Barry said.
The city must respond with "a sense of urgency" to the issue of poverty, council member Marion Barry said. (Nikki Kahn - The Washington Post)
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Poverty is one of the key factors that can lead to child abuse and neglect, said Victoria Casey, chairman of the D.C. Children's Trust Fund, which is part of the collaborative. Single-head households, teenage pregnancies, substance abuse and stress are among others.

"We are aware of all the things that can lead to those situations," Casey said. "It's a very complex and serious and heartbreaking problem. This just got to a point of no return, and it just spiraled out of control."

The report was released on the second day of hearings on poverty hosted by D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8).

The city must respond with "a sense of urgency," Barry said, adding that he plans to organize a coalition of business leaders and community activists to attack the underlying problems of the urban poor.

Barry, who is also chairman of the Committee on Housing and Urban Affairs, chastised Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) for failing to quickly appoint members to the Commission on Poverty, which was established in 2006 and under law was to dissolve two years later.

Fenty, who became mayor last year, didn't nominate residents for the 21-member commission until two weeks ago, Barry said. None of the five residents or the government employee the mayor selected lives in Wards 7 or 8, which have the highest concentration of poverty in the city, Barry said.


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