Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Book Gives Nation, States Poor Marks on Kids Programs

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Book Gives Nation, States Poor Marks on Kids Programs

Article excerpt

Washington, D.C. - More American children are at risk and more families are struggling today than a decade ago. This is the conclusion described in the 1992 KIDS COUNT Data Book, which was released today.

North Dakota ranked first overall and Mississippi last in this third annual report which grades a state's comparative performance on nine measures of child well-being and gives each state a national composite ranking.

"Failing our families means consigning our children and our nation to an eclipsed future," declared Douglas W. Nelson, executive director of the Annie E. Casey Foundation which funded the report. "We must help families better fulfill their most irreplacable function: raising healthy, secure, and productive children," he continued.

The condition of children deteriorated over the 1980's in six of the nine indicators of child well-being, improved in two areas, and stayed the same in one:

[sub-section] percent low birth weight babies: three percent worse

[sub-section] infant mortality rate: 22 percent better

[sub-section] child death rate ages 1-14: 18 percent better

[sub-section] teen violent death rate ages 15-19: 11 percent worse

[sub-section] percent births to single teens: 14 percent worse

[sub-section] juvenile custody rate: 10 percent worse

[sub-section] percent graduating high school: no change

[sub-section] percent children in poverty: 22 percent worse

[sub-section] percent children in single-parent families: 13 percent worse

"America's failure to be a family-friendly society takes an unmistakable toll on children," said Judith Weitz, KIDS COUNT coordinator of the Center for the Study of Social Policy which prepared the report. …

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