WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) -- Roman Catholic Bishop Michael Bransfield says the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston will award $100,000 in grants to parishes, schools and other programs that fight child poverty, starting in December.
His 34-page pastoral letter issued Thursday discusses West Virginia's rates for low birth weight, infant mortality, child abuse and neglect, teen births and the percentage of births to unmarried teens.
All are higher than the national averages.
Bransfield says helping children out of poverty will require a variety of approaches. He urges West Virginia's 76,000 Catholics to join him in showing compassion and care for the poor.
Bransfield says children are further challenged by low academic achievement, and by parents who are incarcerated or addicted to drugs.
He urges the creation of policies that support health care, mental health and education.