Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Texas Ninth-Worst State for Child Well-Being

When it comes to well-being, Texas is failing its children. The latest national KIDS COUNT® Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation ranks Texas ninth worst in the United States in terms of overall child well-being. The dismal score is due in part to the state’s high percentage ― and thus low ranking ― of children without health insurance (49th), children living in high-poverty neighborhoods (46th), and teen birth rates (46th).

The results aren’t all doom and gloom, though. Texas rose two positions from last year and ranks higher than most states for eighth-grade math proficiency (15th) and at least one parent with full-time employment (17th). Still, the number of children who are not proficient in math and have no parent with a full-time job is “unacceptably high,” the foundation reports.

“The two most important things we could do to raise our child well-being rankings are to provide more children with health insurance and reduce the teen birth rate,” said Center for Public Policy Priorities Research Associate Jennifer Lee in a news release.

The release also points out the disconcertingly high number of Texas Latino and African-American children living in high-poverty neighborhoods, where their health and safety are at risk and their educational opportunities are stagnated.

“All children ― regardless of race or ethnicity ― should have the chance to compete and succeed in life,” said Ms. Lee. “It’s time to adopt comprehensive policy solutions ― like closing the health care coverage gap ― that benefit children of all backgrounds and prepare them to be healthy, well-educated, and financially secure.”

Read the full report.

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