TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- A task force appointed by Governor Sam Brownback met today to discuss strategies for reducing childhood poverty.
Members of the governor’s task force heard presentations about different job programs across the country that could be replicated in Kansas to lower the poverty rate. To decrease the number of impoverished children, officials say the cycle must be broken.
“It's about how do we effectively reach peoples lives, touch their families in order that the children have better opportunities than the previous generations before them,” said Barry Feaker, Topeka Rescue Mission executive director.
The governor’s task force on reducing childhood poverty met for the first time in November and learned that nearly 20 percent of children in Kansas live below the poverty line.
Officials say the cost of child care, lack of transportation, and criminal backgrounds are all factors that keep impoverished individuals from securing jobs. During its meeting today, the task force worked to identify employment services that would help people overcome these barriers.
“We are looking at various models around the state,” said Phyllis Gilmore, Department of Children and Families secretary. “We're hoping too to have a mentor program which will help people learn how to apply for jobs, how to go forward with their dress, their clothing, their interviewing skills and encourage them to be successful out in the workforce.”
Members say once they decide what specific strategies to pursue, they are confident they will be effective.
“We are encouraged to have some good programs for folks and that the funding sources will be there,” said Gilmore.
The task force will meet once more after today. They will then present Brownback with specific recommendations on how to combat childhood poverty in Kansas.