INKSTER, Mich., April 5, 2011 – Inkster-based Starfish Family Services (Starfish), a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating brighter futures for the children of at-risk families in metropolitan Detroit, recently released the findings of its Community Needs Assessment of Western Wayne County. Starfish Chief Executive Officer Ann Kalass made the announcement.
The assessment was commissioned by Starfish to identify the most pressing needs of families and young children in 14 western Wayne County communities that represent the Starfish service area, including Canton, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Garden City, Inkster, Livonia, Northville, Northville Township, Plymouth, Plymouth Township, Redford, Taylor, Wayne and Westland. Data collection and analysis was performed by local firm Data Driven Detroit. Key findings of the study include:
- Nine of the 13 school districts serving western Wayne County have 50% or more students eligible for free or reduced lunch;
- In Inkster, Dearborn, Wayne and Taylor 15% or more of households earn less than $20,000;
- Poverty rates from 2000 to 2009 increased from 16% to 24% for all persons and from 23% to 35% for children in the area;
- Residents in western Wayne County receiving food stamps increased 120% over a nine-year period, with nearly one in three residents needing food stamps to help feed their families.
“This study was commissioned to help us assess the deepest needs of the children and families we serve,” said Kalass. “What we found was more need than we even realized. Starfish is already using this information in our planning so we can help ensure even the most vulnerable kids get to school ready to succeed. We decided to share this study with decision-makers, community members and the general public to call attention to the vulnerabilities of low income families and the difficulties that they face on a daily basis. We hope that this study will create dialogue across city and county lines and enable us to work together to build stronger families and brighter futures for the youngest members of our community.”
The 100-page report is available in summary and in its entirety at www.starfishonline.org.
About Starfish Family Services
Founded in 1963, Starfish Family Services is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty by creating family success. Based in Inkster, Mich., Starfish serves vulnerable children and families throughout metropolitan Detroit, providing early childhood and parenting programs, after school programs, children’s mental health services, and emergency shelter to teens and youth in crisis. Each year, Starfish helps more than 9,000 individuals, children and families.