Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 11, 2002
Hunger afflicting more children
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
The gap is widening in Canada between the "haves" and "have-nots" and the result has been an increase in the number of children going hungry, says a report by the Canadian Council on Social Development.
Entitled The Progress of Canada's Children 2002, the report says about 75,000 families with children under the age of 12 reported being hungry in 1996 - the last year for which data are available - an increase of one-third from 1994.
Council president Marcel Lauziere said the increase in the number of hungry children was reinforced in a report released in October by the Canadian Association of Food Banks showing a 12.5 per cent increase in food bank usage in Canada since 1996.
Lauziere told a Nov. 4 news conference the CCSD's statistics on hunger are key indicators of persistent poverty in Canada that are directly linked to poor academic performance.
The report reveals that families living in persistent poverty are three times as likely to have a parent suffering from depression and adds, "parental depression can have a profoundly negative impact on a child's well being."
Lauziere, said what is especially disturbing is "the steady erosion of the support system or social infrastructure that low-income families used to rely on. Just as our physical infrastructure, our bridges and roads are crumbling, so too are the key pillars of our social infrastructure."
The report also shows that more than one-quarter of aboriginal families with young children are headed by single parents and 39 per cent of aboriginal single mothers earn less than $12,000 per year.