DENVER (CBS4)– The number of children living in high poverty areas in Colorado continues to grow. In fact, our state has one of the fastest growing rates in the nation.

Colorado’s high poverty rates have surged 360 percent over the last decade. In 2000, there were about 20,000 children living in high poverty communities in Colorado. Today that number has grown to about 100,000.

Children living in poverty are at risk for health and developmental challenges in many facets of their lives.

Heaven is 4. She smiles and plays pattycake but doesn’t realize that she lives in poverty.

Heaven’s mother, Crystal Ford, is frustrated by the situation her family is living in.

“My faith really helps a lot. I stay prayerful because it does get frustrating and it’s emotional. All those things, but we try not to let the kids see,” said Ford.

Ford also has seven other children in addition to Heaven. She says she and her husband have grown closer through the tough times.

“We don’t have a lot of resources. It’s just me and him working together,” said Ford.

children Colorado Family Falls Into Growing Poverty Trend

Heaven (credit: CBS)

Even though her husband has a job, it’s not enough to lift them out of poverty.

“There’s always room for improvement and doing better. It doesn’t help to beat yourself up about it,” said Ford. “The best thing you can do is just be strong and not give up. Especially when there are kids involved because if you’re not okay, they’re not okay.”

Ford and her family live at the Denver Rescue Mission. They’ve been there for about a year.

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