FY19 - For the first time in over two decades there is a positive trend line for child poverty in Kent County, yet the rate remains 7 points higher than Maryland’s. In 2001 the Kent County rate was 12% and it nearly doubled by 2012. If the current decrease in child poverty continues, Kent County will be able to reach 2001 rates again by 2030. The root causes of Child Poverty identified by the Kent County Local Management Board are 1. A decline in families with children residing in the County, 2. Families experiencing generational poverty, and 3. The impact of substance abuse and incarceration on family stability. These were agreed upon during a planning retreat in June 2017.
Healthy Families Mid-Shore began working with Kent County families in FY14. This was the same year that the Chestertown Hospital closed its maternity ward; requiring families to travel 45 minutes to an hour for child birth and delivery. It became more urgent to target resources to low income families at greater risk of poor outcomes. While the Board had funded some home visiting services to new parents in FY12 and earlier, Healthy Families provided an accredited, evidence-based program to Kent County. The Board continues to prioritize Healthy Families Mid-Shore due to its vital role in preventing child abuse and neglect and fostering stable families.