Oregon’s problem of children in poverty has continued to worsen, more than five years after the recession officially ended. That’s the upshot of a report out Wednesday from Children First for Oregon.
Oregon’s child poverty and abuse numbers appear worse than in other states. Executive Director Tonia Hunt blames a “recession that won’t recede.”
Children First wants the legislature to spend more on early childhood education. And even though Oregon has one of the highest minimum wages in the country, Hunt wants it raised to $15 an hour.
She says Oregon has more young mothers working minimum wage jobs than almost any other state. “A lot of our younger families are in minimum-wage jobs, and in order for them to not need government assistance, the wage increase will actually end up saving our state taxpayers money.”
Hunt says the transition in the governor’s office has complicated efforts in Salem.
Legislative leaders say their framework proposes more money for kids, but “we will still not be able to reach every child in need.”