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Senator Reid Announces Council on Intergenerational Poverty

Utah lawmakers will be tackling the issue of child poverty in the next legislative session.  Republican Senator Stuart Reid of Ogden announced Tuesday the formation of a council which plans to come up with ideas for legislation that will help pull children out of a cycle of dependence on government assistance.   Reid made the announcement at a conference organized by the nonprofit advocacy organization Voices for Utah Children. 

Reid says the effort to help children out of poverty is going to take commitment from all kinds of partners, including government agencies, church groups, nonprofit and charity organizations.  That’s why he’s decided to form a welfare reform council focused on intergenerational poverty.

“It’s going to take a coordinated effort to rescue these children in poverty,” Reid told KUER, “No one person can do it.  No single agency can do it.  Frankly the parents alone who’ve also been raised in poverty – they’re not going to be able to do it on their own either.”

The legislature unanimously supported Reid’s legislation last year to collect data on intergenerational poverty.  Now, with data in hand, Reid is hoping legislators will support him and other stakeholders in trying to do something about it. 

“I think most policy-makers, most legislators, will see the value of intervening with children,” said Reid, “There’s more controversy when you’re talking about intervening with adults.  But I think when we’re intervening with children and the goal is to help them get out of poverty, it changes the outlook and the perspective of the legislators.”

Senate Majority Leader Scott Jenkins attended the conference hosted by Voices for Utah Children, and found himself talking with child advocates.

“I agree with what’s being said, it’s easy to define a problem,” Jenkins said, “But when you start looking at the cures for the problem, where does government intervene, and where doesn’t government intervene?  That’s the question I have, and it’s a really tough question to answer.”

That’s the question Utah’s lawmakers will be facing come January.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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