The Parthenon

Statewide campaign strives to end child poverty

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A campaign to end child poverty in West Virginia will conduct an open legislative forum Thursday from 6-8 p.m. in the Marshall University Memorial Student Center Shawkey Room.

Cabell county delegates and senators have been invited to attend and discuss 10 prominent issues brought forth by the “Our Children Our Future” campaign members.

Carey Jo Grace, central and western West Virginia campaign organizer, said the process consists of a lot of ideas from different people.

“It’s a statewide collaboration of organizations and individuals who work in different groups to come up with different issues to focus on,” Grace said. “After all of the groups put together the 27 proposals, approximately 1,000 people voted on the top 10 ideas. It’s a very democratic process.”

Grace said one proposal is to remove pseudophedrine from the over-the-counter shelves in an effort to stop meth labs in West Virginia.

“With meth labs happening, everyone is in danger,” Grace said. “The children and the neighbors are all at risk for contamination and explosions. A similar law was passed in Oregon, and almost no children have been removed from homes due to meth labs since.”

Another strategy the campaign plans to enforce is the prevention of child sexual assault.

“This issue calls for the governor to call for a task force to talk to kids about what sexual abuse is and what they should do to figure out the best practice,” Grace said.

Volunteer Jennifer Hill said their efforts have paid off in previous years.

We want to discuss with children our vision for the future. It’s our hope that if families come, we can encompass them and ultimately get help to the kids who need it most.”

— Jennifer Hill, volunteer

“We actually proposed to increase minimum wage in the past along with several other issues that have passed,” Hill said. “We’ve had several victories throughout this campaign by keeping up with momentum and understanding the needs and wants.”

Hill said all members of the community are encouraged to attend.

“We want to discuss with children our vision for the future,” Hill said. “It’s our hope that if families come, we can encompass them and ultimately get help to the kids who need it most.”

The Our Children, Our Future campaign is a by-product of the West Virginia Kids and Families Coalition.

Amy Napier can be contacted at [email protected]

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