Report: Intervention needed to break cycle of intergenerational poverty in Utah

Published: Thursday, Oct. 3 2013 6:15 p.m. MDT

But the report drew a clear distinction between the life experiences of children in intergenerational poverty compared with peers whose families received assistance on a situational basis.

The report found that "26.5 percent of them were substantiated child (abuse) victims with Child Protective Services," compared with 4.4 percent who had received public assistance on a situational basis.

"What we know about this population is their intense need for public services. We would think those stretch beyond that which DWS provides. We knew we'd see these people on DCFS rolls," Mayne said.

"What was surprising to us is the difference between the intergenerational group and the non-intergenerational group. That's what was staggering. That's really what allowed us to solidify our definition. If there really is that much difference between the experiences of those two groups, clearly we have found those who are in the cycle of poverty," she said.

The report does not form conclusions regarding the causality of a child entering the child welfare system. "However, a strong correlation exists between welfare dependency and adverse childhood experiences," the report said.

The report examines the utilization of child care subsidies, nutrition assistance programs, cash assistance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and medical assistance programs such as the Children's Health Insurance Program.

The report showed that the Department of Workforce Services closed 5,300 public assistance cases in fiscal 2013, meaning they were "no longer part of the intergenerational welfare dependency cohort."

For 578 of them, the cases were closed because their incomes now exceed program guidelines, which DWS officials said was a bright spot in the report.

"I'll take it," Reid said. "I'll take anything I can."

Email: marjorie@deseretnews.com

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