Utah is taking steps to help families break the cycle of poverty and dependence on public assistance. The Department of Workforce Services released a report Friday on poverty around the state. It’s the first in a series of annual reports mandated by the Utah Intergenerational Poverty Mitigation Act, passed this year in the legislature.
The report shows that intergenerational poverty affects people all over the state, but disproportionally affects unmarried women with children. Women are almost twice as likely as men to be part of a multigenerational cycle of poverty and public assistance. Rick Little is the Director of Workforce Research and Analysis. He says the Department is especially concerned with the children in these households.
“The children of these individuals tend to be the most vulnerable toward continuing the cycle of poverty,” Little told KUER, “We saw in the report that among the teen girls in the households of intergenerational poverty, that already one in 20 is expecting a child of their own.”
Little says, without some kind of intervention, the cycle will continue.
“This report helps us to better identify specifically who those individuals are so that we might be able to seek services and/or treatments that help them to break the cycle of poverty,” said Little.
Governor Gary Herbert has directed DWS to work with members of the community, public officials, and advocates to help end intergenerational poverty. These groups will come together with the legislation’s sponsor, Senator Stuart Reid, on October 9th for a poverty summit at the Grand America Hotel.