Foreclosures directly affect 1 in 10 children | News

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Foreclosures directly affect 1 in 10 children

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Meri West loves her North Jacksonville home and would hate to lose it.

"I love it I love it," she said, "Homes are real important to me."

But the house she purchased in 2010 is now in foreclosure. West lost her job and got behind on the mortgage.

"I moved around a lot when I was a kid, I am trying desperately not to do the same with my kids," she said. 

There are several homes in her Panama Park community in foreclosure. She said the past two years have been stressful.

"You're always in the back of your mind wondering what you're gonna do," said West.

What you're going to do, how do you tell the kids.

"I've not actually told my kids," she said, "I don't want to scare them."

West, 52, is the parent of two elementary school age boys.

"What I've been doing for the past two years is talking about change and how change is good might be more ready for it," said West.

A First Focus study reveals foreclosures directly affect one in ten children.

West knows if she should lose her home, it will throw her sons' lives into disarray.

"I talk sometimes how I would like to have a house and a space and they talk about what would we do about the animals and the fence we built," she said.

West is confident they'll get through this season, she said they have to.

"They don't want to move," said West, "this is the only home they've really remembered being in their whole lives."

West is now self-employed and business is good. She's hired Attorney Chip Parker to fight the foreclosure lawsuit.

Her goal is keep the house she and her kids call home.

"It is scary to think about losing it and having to start over somewhere," said West.

First Focus, a child advocacy group, said its goal is to change policy in Congress and the White House that affect foreclosures and children

If you are in danger of losing your home, how do you tell your children?

Dr. Kenneth Manges with the American Psychological Association said a child's reaction is to believe his world is ending. Manges said it is even more difficult if they have to move away from their school district and friends.

Manges said parents need to have a reassuring voice and an honest conversation.

-Talk about it

-Ask them their concerns

-Let them know other families face the same problem

-Be honest

-Emphasize stability, and this is a temporary change


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