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Research looks at number of kids affected by foreclosure

The media has reported about the effects of the foreclosure debacle on homeowners, the housing market, the economy, and a variety of other issues over the course of the crisis. Certainly Ohio homeowners who are struggling to make ends meet have concerns over the issues surrounding a mortgage foreclosure.

A recent study, however, says that one in 10 children in the country has been, or will be affected by a foreclosure. First Focus, a bipartisan advocacy group says that the study reveals 2.3 million children have been uprooted from their home due to foreclosure in the past five years.

More children may be at risk, as the advocacy group estimates 3 million children live in a home that is currently at risk of foreclosure proceedings. On top of that, 3 million kids have lived in a rental home that went into foreclosure against the landlord.

The author of the report says that the recent study is the first to look into the effects of foreclosure on kids who have lived in a rental home. Foreclosure is difficult for anyone who may be affected, but the study authors say that kids may be exposed to issues beyond the stress. While stress can cause health issues, and children are not immune in that area during a foreclosure, kids can suffer effects in development and lower performance at school.

Many children caught up in the foreclosure crisis are forced to move during the school year. The lead author of the First Focus study says that such children's math and reading scores may drop as much as if the students missed a full month from school. She uses a synthesis of 16 studies to reach the tough conclusion.

The estimates in the study use Census data and mortgage loans made from 2004 to 2008-the period that included a large number of risky and sub-prime loans that experts attribute as being primarily responsible for the foreclosure crisis. The researcher says that actual numbers may be higher, as loans granted outside the time period may skew the numbers one way or the other if factored in.

Source: Chicago Sun Times, "Study: Foreclosures take toll on kids," Julie Schmit, April 19, 2012

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