Tuesday was a big day for news about children and most of it was bad. In Washington, D.C., the Children's Defense Fund released another sobering report on the rise in poverty among young people in this country. From 1979 to 1989, a time of prosperity for many Americans, the number of children living in poverty rose by more than 1 million, an increase exceeding 11 percent. According to the report, Maryland actually saw a slight drop in the child poverty rate, from 12.5 percent in 1979 to 10.9 percent a decade later. However, more recent figures reflecting the effects of the recession are not yet available.
Statistics aside, the headlines in Tuesday's Evening Sun tell why childhood itself is becoming a nightmare for many young people -- and why lip service to children's issues is no longer enough for any country that takes its future seriously.
Stripped across the top of Page One was the chilling story of a house fire, set by an arsonist, that trapped and killed five young children on East Eager Street. A sixth child remains hospitalized in critical condition. At least three other children survived the fire. But with that narrow escape seared into their memories, who can tell what terrors will haunt their sleep in years to come?