Report Tracks Foreclosure’s Overlooked Impact On California Children

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A foreclosure sign hangs on a fence in front of a foreclosed home on April 6, 2011. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A foreclosure sign hangs on a fence in front of a foreclosed home on April 6, 2011. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

JaniceWright20100910_KCBS_0748r Janice Wright
Janice Wright has been in Bay Area Broadcasting for over 30 years. ...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – California is one of 10 states where home foreclosures have hit children harder than elsewhere in the nation, according to a study that documents the far reaching impact of the foreclosure crisis on the young.

Roughly a million California children live in a home that either has been foreclosed, or where the mortgage is delinquent, according to the Brookings Institution report released Wednesday.

KCBS’ Janice Wright Reports:

Author Julia Isaacs estimates between 12 percent and 19 percent of the foreclosures in California between 2004 and 2008 displaced children, and more precise data can be hard to come by “because the mortgage records don’t have very many demographics.”

“Children are sometimes the invisible victims of the foreclosure crisis,” she said, adding the numbers climb even higher when factoring in families that rent from landlords caught in foreclosure.

The report suggests some 8 million children nationwide have been directly affected by foreclosure.

Although the number of foreclosures in California has been declining, displaced children may feel the effects for years to come, said Ted Lempert, president of Children Now, a national research and advocacy organization based in Oakland.

“Jumping around to different housing options, often switching to different schools,” Lempert said, makes it harder for kids to succeed academically.

Lempert said the Bay Area counties where foreclosure has been highest are also areas where the recession has made it harder for parents to find full-time work.

“Over a third of California children have no parent with full-time employment,” he said, and nutrition and medical care suffer in such homes.

The data available today offer few clues as to whether the current foreclosure crisis has set in motion a cycle of poverty for children forced out of their homes, but Isaacs was not optimistic given what happened during the Great Depression.

“I’m afraid we may see long-term impacts for children of the current recession,” she said.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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