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Report: Few Young Parents In NC Have Degrees, Many Are Poor

foster care children
Credit U.S. Navy
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North Carolina has about 117,000 young parents between age 18 to 24. Few of these young parents have a degree, and most of them are poor, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Kids Count report.Whitney Tucker, of the child advocacy group N.C. Child, says these young parents often have a hard time finding well-paying jobs or overcoming financial, scheduling, and childcare challenges to go back to school. Tucker says this sets up their children for similar struggles.

“As these number rise, and if we don't make any interventions, we can expect to see more children struggling in school, we can expect to see higher crime rates, we can expect to see higher poverty rates, because poverty is often cyclical," Tucker said.

The Kids Count report found that 58 percent of North Carolina's young parents are people of color.

“The longer that we wait in providing, say community college options, and other things to make young parents more competitive in the workforce landscape, the more time that we have that there will be children growing up in these poverty conditions and without access to quality early learning and without access to a lot of the things that, research has shown, leads kids later on to be more successful financially and educationally,” Tucker said.

Tucker believes community colleges should provide flexible scheduling and affordable childcare for parents who wish to go back to school.

Here's a link to the full report.

Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
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