New report details struggles children in Mecklenburg County face

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — The latest State of Our Children report outlines data about what children in Mecklenburg County are going through.

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The report, prepared by Council for Children's Rights and Communities in Schools (CIS), looked at everything children are confronted with, including education, health, housing and safety, with the goal of putting out valuable information to stir conversation and collaboration to help kids in Mecklenburg County succeed.

Here are some of the statistics.

There are 42,098 children in poverty.

About 1 in 5 middle and high school students report seriously considering suicide, while 1 in 4 report feeling sad or hopeless almost every day.

"We have to get closer as a community to understanding the issues that confront our children," said Virginia Covill, of both CIS and the Council.

She said another takeaway is investment in schools.

"We are much lower than the national average, and we actually, when you adjust for inflation are funding our schools at lower levels than prerecession," Covill said.

[ALSO READ: Thousands of children in Charlotte are homeless]

She said we must recognize inequity: "1 in 3 Hispanic children live in poverty, that’s compared with 1 in 10 white children."

Black youth make 33 percent of the population under 18 in Mecklenburg County, but they account for 45 percent of all reports of abuse or neglect made to Mecklenburg County Youth and Family Services, according to the report.

Commissioner Pat Cotham told Channel 9 the community needs to see these numbers and understand the challenges facing our kids.

"When you see that young children are dealing with violence in the home and they can’t process it, then they go to school and some new teacher has to teach this young child whose carrying all this baggage of instability at home, and [thinking] if they’re gonna eat that day. It's very troubling,” she said.

Leaders said solving these issues will come from collaboration, community discussion and making sure we have solid data to work with.

You can read the full report here.