Segments in this Video

Poor Kids: Introduction (02:13)


This segment orients viewers to poverty in America; over 16 million children are affected by it.

Meet Brittany Smith (02:59)

Brittany, age 9, discusses taking a cold shower, because her parents are unable to pay utility bills. She lists items she lost in a confiscated storage unit.

Effects of Unemployment (01:33)

Brittany talks with her dad about the termination of their cable service and his progress in attaining a job. Brittany's brother, Roger Smith, hopes "that by some miracle" his father will soon be employed.

Meet Kaylie Hegwood (04:29)

Kaylie, age 10, lives with her mother and brother, Tyler Hegwood, age 12. Kaylie explains how she deals with constant hunger. She collects cans with a friend to make money.

Meet Jasmine and Johnny Davis (04:03)

Jasmine, age 9, and Johnny, age 13, live in a Salvation Army homeless shelter. Their father, Tom, explains how the recession damaged his business. The family commutes 2 hours a day to take their father to work.

Mental Breakdown (04:23)

With money earned from mowing lawns, Tyler helps pay for groceries. Kaylie and Tyler's mother, Barbara Hegwood, suffers from depression.

Hunger and Nutrition (04:20)

Brittany explains why many Americans need assistance accessing food; she describes her increasing hunger. Brittany participates in a weekly Nutrition Club at school. The Smith family's meals lack nutrition; Brittany is self-conscious about her body image.

Debilitating Disorder (01:59)

During dinner, Brittany's mother imagines eating different food. She suffers from an anxiety disorder that may have fatal consequences. Brittany lives with thoughts of losing her mother.

Family Sacrifices (03:34)

The Hegwood family is relocating and Kaylie must give up her dog, Nala. Kaylie and her family move into a hotel room.

Living Homeless (02:32)

Johnny and Jasmine discuss the social stigma of living in a homeless shelter. Their mother, Classy, describes the difficulty of raising and maintaining a family with little to no money.

Out of Poverty (01:44)

Johnny brings home his school report card. He believes academics are his only way out of poverty.

Living in a Hotel (02:49)

Kaylie describes how she spends her time while living in a hotel room. She asks Alex, the hotel manager, questions about other families in her situation. The Hegwood family routinely fills the sink with ice, which acts as a substitute refrigerator.

Smith Family Struggles to Survive (03:18)

Brittany learns her mother is pregnant. With their current financial situation, Brittany's parents show concern. For Roger, the lack of internet is difficult.

Hegwoods Relocate (03:26)

Kaylie and her family pack their belongings and move to a new home. Kaylie sleeps on the floor and spends her time folding clothes and cleaning the kitchen.

Needs of a Growing Teenager (04:13)

Johnny and Jasmine's family move to transitional housing; finding enough food is a daunting task. Johnny and his mother have a dispute over name brand items.

Temporary Fixes (01:53)

Brittany's mother gives birth to a baby boy. Her father finds employment with a previous employer.

Uncertain Future (03:16)

Kaylie and her family move back into a hotel room, because her mother failed to pay rent at their previous home. With constant relocation, Kaylie and her brother are unable to attend school.

Credits: Poor Kids (02:28)

Credits: Poor Kids

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Poor Kids

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These are hard times in the Quad Cities, a great American crossroads along the border of Iowa and Illinois, where the Mississippi River intersects Interstate 80. It's home to John Deere manufacturing and the nation's breadbasket. But it's also an area deeply scarred by the Recession. FRONTLINE spent months following three young girls who are growing up against the backdrop of their families' struggles against financial ruin. The result is an intimate portrait of the economic crisis as it's rarely seen, through the eyes of children. At a time when one in five American kids lives below the poverty line, Poor Kids is an unflinching and revealing exploration of what poverty means to children, and to the country's future. Distributed by PBS Distribution 

Length: 56 minutes

Item#: BVL114699

Copyright date: ©2012

Closed Captioned

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