JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- They play on dangerous streets, many in what DCF calls unlivable conditions. Actions News has learned more than half of the children in the Durkeeville and Newtown sections of Jacksonville are growing up in poverty, the highest rates in our area.
About 21.8 percent of children in Duval County live in poverty, and that number more than doubles in Durkeeville. More than 52 percent of children live in poverty, some even had to be removed from their families.
DCF's John Harrell says it's a problem passed down through generations stemming from poor education and teen pregnancy. It's a vicious cycle that's difficult to break.
More than 16 percent of all teens in the 32290 ZIP code become pregnant compared to 7.8 percent for the entire county.
Shuntrell Wilburn grew up in Durkeeville and had her first baby at 17. She says her community needs assistance in getting on the right path for the next generation.
"We need more opportunities more programs more stuff to do to keep them off the streets to keep them busy," she said.
Responding to the call for help, DCF is talking to the mayor and city council Thursday to get funding for mentoring programs and to bring business to the area. They'll be hosting a community hope event at Edward Waters College Thursday at 2 p.m. to help tackle the issue.
Harrell believes failing to act now will only push the effects of poverty into other areas of the city.
"We seen it happen in other cities like Detroit," said Harrell.
DCF will also be hosting a public forum about the issue Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Schell Sweet Community Center.