Alabama Among Worst States For Children: Report

New Hampshire is in first place and New Mexico the last in terms of welfare for children in the United States, according to a report published Wednesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a non-profit organization that focuses on improve the well-being of American children.

The report, called Kids Count, measured the well-being of children in the 50 states of the country, combining data from 2016 on topics such as welfare, education, health, and family and community. The information for 2016 is the most recent available in each state.

Among those four indices, there are a total of 16 areas, such as death rate, alcohol and drug use, and poverty.

“Our measures are not only about the well-being of children at the time of their childhood, but also measures that research shows are connected to success in adulthood,” said Laura Speer, co-director of the report and associate director of policy reform. and defense of the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore.

“We wanted to capture, as much as we could, the range of factors that impact a child’s life, not just what happens at school, not just what’s happening with the economy. All those things have an impact on the lives of children,” she said.

In the top 10 are: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Minnesota, Iowa, Utah, Connecticut, Vermont, Nebraska and Virginia.

The 10 in the last places are: Arkansas, Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, Alaska, Nevada, Mississippi, Louisiana and New Mexico.

To combine information from all areas in each state, the researchers used a comprehensive index of information from federal statistical agencies, including the United States Census Bureau , the National Center for Health Statistics, and the National Center for Education Statistics. .

All the information was collected in the same way in each state and was selected for the report by the Population Reference Bureau , Speer said. Then, the rankings within each individual field were completed, “and then we made a general ranking based on the 16 measures that appear in the report.”

Differences in well-being, by race
The data in the most recent report showed regional patterns in the general well-being of children.

Five of the top 10 states with the best overall state of child welfare are in the northwest, in states such as Connecticut, which was in seventh place and Vermont in eighth place. The states in the Appalachian and southern regions occupied the lowest part of the classification.

Among the fields in which states were measured – economic welfare, education, health and family and community – few states varied dramatically. For example, Montana ranked 10th in the family and community area, but 46th in the health area. And California was in the ninth place in matters of health, but in the 45th of economic welfare.

Still, by combining those factors in their measure of well-being for children, the report offers a “holistic perspective” on children, says Lindsay Stark, an associate professor of population and family at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. , who was not involved in the study.

“Usually, researchers and legislators only see one of those domains – such as health or education – to draw conclusions about children’s welfare or establish a policy ,” Stark said.

“By considering a set of domains and observing across multiple wellness areas, legislators are more likely to develop appropriate and effective policies for children, including the allocation of funds,” Stark added. “Although the report does not offer a comparison of state policies, it is likely that local policies can help explain some of those differences.”

The report also showed that in almost the entire measure index, black children, Indian-Americans and Latinos are at a disadvantage compared to their peers.

Then, “the information can also help reveal major structural disparities, highlighting how black and Latino children continue to be systematically at a greater disadvantage in many communities,” Stark said.

There were few notable exceptions in race differences. For example, black children were more likely than the national average to go to school when they were small and live in families where the head of the household has a high school diploma.

Indigenous families with children were less likely to be burdened with high housing costs, and indigenous and Latino children were more likely to be born at a healthy weight. Latino and adolescent children also had a lower death rate than the national average.

Among the limitations of the report is the fact that the information is two years old and there are many more factors that affect the well-being of children than the 16 included in the report.

“There are things we know that have an impact on children’s health and well-being, that we were not able to measure, or to include, because there is not good comparable information in all states,” Speer said.

“Obesity rates are something we know is having a negative impact on children’s health, but there was not good information available on this. Another is the impact of the justice system on children, “Speer added.

Another important omission was the rate of child abuse, said Johanna Greeson, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania and an associate director of The Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice, and Research, which was not involved in the report.

“What is the rate of child abuse and neglect in each state? We have a national system that tracks that information, so I wonder why it’s not included. ” said Greeson.

Raymond Carter

Raymond Carter is a reporter for Alabama Post Gazette.  After graduating from the University of Alabama, Raymond got an internship at The Birmingham News and worked as a reporter and editor.  Riku has also worked as a reporter for Tokyo Shimbun. Raymond covers entertainment and community events for Alabama Post Gazette.

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