This morning, the National Center on Family Homelessness made it official: Texas has more homeless children than any other state in the union, and significantly more needs to be done to care for them. Says the center's new 220-page study, America's Youngest Outcasts: State Report Card on Child Homelessness, of the approximately 1,555,360 homeless children in the U.S., 337,000 live in Texas -- or, 5.2 percent of all children in the state. The study also deems the state's policy and planning "inadequate" and ranks Texas at 44 when it comes to "child well-being" and 50 for "risk of being homeless" -- hence, the worst ranking possible, which is not merely a result of population.
There is this caveat buried deep in the report: "The number of homeless children in 2005-2006 in Louisiana and possibly in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Texas was unusually high because of the 2005 hurricanes." But another statistic to bear in mind:
Approximately 11% (or 8.9 million) of our nation's children are uninsured.Texas has the highest rate of uninsured children at 22% and Massachusetts has the lowest rate at 5%.
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The Associated Press follows up with this story this morning, about a Dallas family now living at Family Gateway following the mother and father both losing their jobs. Ken Martin, executive director of the Texas Homeless Network, points to a disaster-in-the-making for kids and parents alike: "At the other end of the scale are people who are way over their heads in houses they can't afford. When they lose their jobs or have a health care crisis, they're out on the street and they take their kids with them."