SALT LAKE CITY -- The recession has more children living in poverty than ever before.
That is the bad news being released today by the 2011 KIDS COUNT Data Book, by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Children living in poverty are more at risk to failure than others, officials said.
"Children who are in the low-income range are less likely to do well academically," said Patrick McCarthy, director of the foundation, during a Webinar conference.
McCarthy said if parents are struggling financially, they have fewer resources to help their children succeed academically.
The younger children are and the longer they are exposed to economic hardship, the higher their risk for failure, he said.
Overall, Utah ranks seventh in caring for children, according to the report. This is the first year in several that Utah has not been ranked in the top five.
The annual report ranks children in all 50 states based on child well-being indicators.
The Utah KIDS COUNT data shows 65,000 children in 2010 lived with at least one unemployed parent. Between 2000 and 2009, there was a 20 percent increase in the Utah child-poverty rate.
And foreclosures, which have never been counted before, affect an estimated 3 percent, or about 56,000, of Utah's children.
Davis School District saw a 3 percent increase in students applying for free and reduced lunches in the 2010-2011 school year, said Christopher Williams, communications and partnerships director with the district.
"Historically, about 25 to 26 percent of our students use the program, but last year it jumped up to 28 percent," Williams said.
Williams also said, "We're hearing stories of more (adult) children who are raising children and moving back in with their parents, so there are three generations under one roof."
Williams said he does not know if it is the result of foreclosures or loss of jobs.
Weber School District saw in the 2010-2011 school year, compared to the previous school year, a slight decrease in the number of families doubling up with grandparents or other relatives, said Bob Wood, director of student services.
The students are doing well in school, despite crowded living conditions, because they are with their parents, Wood said.
Also, schools are providing more services to those hit by the recession, he said. Teachers, counselors and school nurses work with families who cannot afford supplies, clothing or glasses.
Jason Wilde, executive director of the Family Connection Center in Layton, said, "We're seeing people we've never seen at our food banks and at our emergency assistance programs."
Wilde said many of those are families in which the primary wage earner has lost a job, has taken a cut in wages or experienced a decrease in hours.
Linda Hansen, director of the Box Elder Community Pantry, said the food bank saw a huge increase in families needing help 18 months ago when the recession hit.
It serves 7.5 percent of the county's population and of that percent, 4 percent are children, she said.
Hansen said many of the parents are doing a good job not instilling a fear about the economy in their children.
Wilde said the only way to help parents get their families out of poverty is to improve the economy, which means adding jobs, increasing wages and improving the number of hours people work.
The Casey Foundation has made several recommendations to states to help low-income families.
Those include strengthening the unemployment insurance, offsetting the cost of child care and providing health insurance coverage.
Kristin Johnson, with Cornerstone Financial Education, a nonprofit organization based in Ogden, said she expects Utah will see more foreclosures in the next few years.
Terry Haven, Kids Count director for Voices for Utah, said the bankruptcy filings are still going up in Utah.
Allison Rowland, budget and research director for Voices for Utah, said she has worked with state lawmakers concerning legislation that could help low-income families with things such as tax breaks.
But in years when the state has had a surplus, "they chose not to do it," and in years like this year, when the budget is tight, "they can't afford to adopt it," Rowland said.