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Helping families help themselves

"If you live in poverty you're eight times more likely to go to bed hungry than your suburban peer, you're three times more likely to fail," said Johans.

Johans provided the following statistics gathered from a number of databases, including the Child Welfare League of America, about families living in poverty:

In the United States there are about half a million children who can't live at home and at least 2 million children who are at risk of being removed from their homes because of abuse and neglect.

If you grow up in poverty, by age 6, on average you are 10,000 words behind in your vocabulary than children who do not grow up in poverty.

In Schenectady's Hamilton Hill area alone, there are approximately 2,500 young people ages 16 to 24 who are unemployed and out of school.

In the city of Albany, 31 percent of children live in poverty, in the city of Schenectady, 31 percent of children live in poverty, and in the city of Troy, 28 percent of children live in poverty.

Children who live in poverty do not grow or develop as fast as other children mentally, physically or educationally. They are twice as likely to be abused or neglected, three times as likely to live in substandard housing, and eight times as likely not to get enough food, according to the Children's Defense Fund Data.

"Poverty is at the root of the problem the families in our care face, so that's why we do offer such a wide array of services, because there are a variety of problems," said Alpert.

"There could be domestic violence, abuse or neglect, or substance abuse problems, but there are also choices.

Parents have to make a choice: 'Do I stay home with my kids and make sure they don't get into trouble in the afternoon and evening? Or do I go to work and put food on the table?'" said Alpert.

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