Kent County’s Local Management Board (KCLMB), in conjunction with a diverse group of community leaders, developed a broadly owned roadmap to move towards a future where everyone in Kent County has equal access to resources and opportunity.
The primary focus of this roadmap is to increase the economic security and social mobility for the estimated 600 children and their families of Kent County who are most negatively impacted by poverty. These children represent 20% of children in Kent County, underscoring how attainable the goal is. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has exacerbated and increased the challenges for families experiencing poverty, making the roadmap even more urgent. The KCLMB is proposing that the community band together to slash child poverty in half; in other words, moving 300 children above the poverty threshold.
The community needs assessment and planning process collected information from state and local data, key informant interviews, youth focus groups, surveys, community forums, input from community leaders, partner organizations and other stakeholders. This information led the KCLMB to focus directly on leveraging the resources of multi-sector partners and community members to address child poverty in Kent County.
“The incredible input and desire to help from our partners and community members is amazing. Reducing childhood poverty can only be successful through a full community effort and we are thrilled to have the outpouring of support to develop and carry out this community plan,” said Rosemary Ramsey Granillo, Executive Director of the KCLMB.
Harnessing the collective assets of Kent County’s community leaders, stakeholders, and changemakers will ultimately lead toward the positive change of economic security and mobility that will help decrease poverty for Kent County’s most vulnerable families and children. Currently the KCLMB is engaged in three simultaneous strategies to help lower child poverty rates, which are detailed in the Plan’s action items. The first is to increase public understanding and awareness of poverty, thereby exposing the structural forces that incubate poverty, this will drive change in policy and programming. The second is to build Kent County’s ability to meet basic needs in food, housing, and transportation. Addressing these preconditions to economic mobility is a primary concern given the County’s lack of robust housing and transportation options. The third is to expand the local Systems of Care, led by KCLMB staff Doncella Wilson, for families to find and access the resources they need across multiple systems.
Acting with urgency, the KCLMB has recently added capacity and hired a Housing and Transportation Coordinator as a result of this planning process. Dawson Hunter will be leading a basic needs workgroup to further these goals.
“I am fortunate to join a highly driven and passionate set of colleagues to help improve the livelihoods of Kent County citizens,” said Dawson Hunter, Housing and Transportation Coordinator.
Please see the Kent County Local Management Board’s Community Plan for Children, Youth, & Families here.