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B.C.'s child poverty rate tops federal average, prompts demand for improvement

VANCOUVER — A coalition of 95 British Columbia groups says the provincial government is failing to help its youngest and poorest citizens.

First Call: B.C. Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition says one in five children in this province, or 20.4 per cent, live in poverty, topping the national child poverty rate of 19 per cent.

The numbers are from 2013 statistics, the most recent data available, and the coalition says just over half of all B.C. youngsters in poverty live in Metro Vancouver.

Children from single-parent families are also at risk, with the coalition's 2015 B.C. Child Poverty Report Card showing 50.3 per cent of children from those families live in poverty, compared to 13 per cent from two parent families.

Coalition chairwoman Cheryl Mixon says the child poverty crisis reaches into every corner of the province and the group demands B.C. develop a comprehensive poverty reduction plan, complete with targets and timelines.

The report card makes 21 recommendations to help reduce the child poverty rate to seven per cent or less by 2020 — including raising the minimum wage and welfare rates and adopting a 10-dollar per day child care plan.

The Canadian Press

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