By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A children’s advocacy group says the number of children living in poverty in Philadelphia’s suburbs is growing. The group hopes its findings will unite city and suburban legislators in seeking solutions.

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Public Citizens for Children and Youth have long lobbied for anti-poverty measures, including funding for health care, nutrition and education, but executive director Donna Cooper says it was often stymied by the perception that these were strictly city problems. She says county-by-county research shows, that’s not so.

“Every school district in the suburbs has seen an increase in the number of children who are low income,” she says.

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In Chester County, the number of children in poverty has increased 55% in the last four years. In Bucks, the increase is 20%, and in Delaware County, it’s 30%.

Cooper hopes the findings will break down regional barriers to addressing the issue.

“When we speak as one region, we will have a more receptive audience,” she says. “We have common challenges. Children are not of a party, but they require people from both parties to work together to really make sure they have what they need to grow up to be healthy and smart and productive citizens.”

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