One in five Dallas-area children live in poverty, report finds

One in five children in North Texas lives in poverty, with more than 260,000 kids in the area considered food insecure, according to a biennial study released Tuesday from Children’s Health and the University of Texas-Dallas. A 97-page report — ‘Beyond ABC’ — offered a comprehensive look at the well-being of children in Dallas County and its five northern neighbors: Collin, Cooke, Denton, Grayson and Fannin counties.

“The challenges aren’t going away,”said Timothy Bray, the director of the Institute of Urban Policy Research at UT-Dallas, and one of the authors of the report.

Focused on four indicators — health, economic security, safety and education — the findings were sobering. Included in the report:

–The rates of uninsured children in Dallas, Cooke, Fannin and Grayson counties were double the national average.

–Texas ranks last in per-capita funding for mental illness.

–For single parents earning a poverty wage, early child-care costs could account for nearly half their income.

–In Fannin County, CPS caseloads were more than double the state average, with 50.3 cases per caseworker in 2016.

–North Texas has less than half as many approved foster homes (1,244) as children needing placement.

–There were almost 7,500 confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect in North Texas last year.

–More than half of third-grade students in the six counties, nearly 30,000, were reading below grade level.

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