Why do we have a poverty issue?

Published 2:31 pm Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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By Sarah Brown – Managing Editor

Poverty in our community is more than what meets the eye; there are many families and children struggling with different aspects of poverty. Crisp County is ranking higher than the whole state for poverty. When we spoke with Robinson she said, “When we have families who are stressed and worried about whether or not they have a place to lay their head, it trickles down into the other parts of life.” These other parts of life relate to their children, and the worry of just knowing where home is. The CCCC has decided to focus on the poverty in the community with a housing first mindset. With that they are working on the number of children in poverty and the families that are at or below the federal poverty level.

Statistics from Kids Count Data Center for Crisp County compared to the state of Georgia.


Statistics from 2018-2022 Georgia % Georgia # Crisp % Crisp #
Children whose parents lack secure employment 7.90% 186,402 15.70% 612
Unemployment 3.00% 159,182 4.20% 412
Families with children, with annual incomes of less that 150% of the federal poverty threshold 25.50% 322,315 41.60% 1,015
Children living in poverty 17% 426,470 37.50% 1,719
Children with a substantial incident of child abuse and/or neglect (per 1,000) 4.5 11,295 24.5 114
Children not attending preschool, ages 3 and 4 52.30% 142,371 22.10% 114
Children absent more than 15 days from school 24.40% 453,885 37.90% 1,404
Teens not in school and not working, ages 16 to 19 7.90% 47,447 21.20% 239
Homeownership 65% 2,565,877 54% 4,292


The CCCC is also focusing on abuse and neglect, due to those number increasing. The abuse and neglect cases stream from other issues such as homelessness, or simply not being able to afford to pay utilities. Many of these children live in single parent family homes where the parent is working the equivalent of if there were two parents, which results in the child being left at home alone. The abuse and neglect cases that are calculated are not just ones that are called in. With that the county is sitting at almost three times the state level, which significant increase from last year.


To address the issues of abuse and neglect, CCCC has developed Parent Cafes. The event is facilitator led, but over all a discussion on different topics each time. The aim is to help parents understand that they aren’t the only ones, help cope with stress, and focus on things such as self-care. The CCCC also has a budget through grants to which they can help families pay for bills, daycare, etc. The CCCC hosts a number of events through the year to help families and children in our community to grow, develop and get access to resources.


Third Grade Learning Statistics 2019 2020 2021 2022
3rd grade students achieving developing learner or above on milestones English Language Arts 167 – 61% N/A 69 – 31.7% 75 – 31.5%
3rd grade students achieving proficient learner or above on milestones English Language Arts 69 – 25.2% N/A 29 – 13.3% 28 – 11.8%


Reading is so important to the children of our community at a young age. Crisp County has seen a significant drop in reading especially in third grade students, which could be due to the issues of abuse and neglect of children in our community. When we spoke with Tim Powers, he discussed when he first discovered how significant the reading issue is not only in our community but also in other areas of Georgia. In Tim Powers previous community where he served as Chamber Board Chairman and several other community boards he was exposed to some statistics that was greatly concerning. “It was the GA Milestones data that revealed approximately 65% of children in our public schools in rural South Georgia were unable to read at grade level by the end of the third grade.” Powers said, “I began to research the issue and came to understand the significance of reading ability before 4th grade, it impacted me greatly and I was determined to do something about it.” Tim established an educational foundation and literacy-mentoring program to partner with the Colquitt County school system. Today, Tim is part of Ferst Readers of Crisp County that helps to give children in our community the opportunity to start reading from birth to age 5 through a monthly book program.

For those that would like to get involved in helping families in our community, please contact Monica Robinson at (229) 271-1054.