MORE than a third of families in eight Halton wards rely on benefits to survive.
The poorest ward is Runcorn's Windmill Hill where 57% of children are brought up on hand outs.
The other hardest hit areas include: Halton Lea - 46.9%, Castlefields - 45.1%, Norton South - 41.9%, Riverside - 41%, Grange - 37%, Halton Brook - 36.8% and Kingsway - 36.3%.
Government figures show that Halton is the 21st most deprived borough in England and Wales.
Jonathan Stearn, director of pressure group EndChild Poverty, said: 'Such high levels of poverty shame a prosperous country like ours.
'More than 450,000 children in the North West are living in poverty - the highest in any part of England outside of London - this is a blight on the region.'
Halton's crushing levels of poverty were revealed when it was announced a multi-million-pound centre is to be built in the Granby ward of Liverpool to tackle child poverty.
It will be run by Granby Sure Start in partnership with the city council, Job Centre Plus and central Liverpool primary care trust.
Sure Start Granby manager Christine Bates said: 'This is an exciting development for the area. The children's centre will have a significant impact on young children and their families.'
A job centre will be included on site, while vital ante- and post-natal information will be offered to parents.'