(from interview and press release)
Only five states scored worst than SC in terms of the overall well-being of children, according to the latest Kid’s Count report. That’s the same ranking as 2009, and is the average ranking that the state has had over the past 20 years. The latest report indicates improvements for the state in rates of infant mortality, teen birth and teens who are not in school and who are not high school graduates. The death rate for teenagers also improved.
The state didn’t do so well in other areas, falling back on indicators relating to percentage of low birth-weight babies, children in poverty, and percentage of children living in single-parent families.
South Carolina Kids Count Project Director Baron Holmes says since 2000, the child poverty rate has increased by 16 percent to more than one in every five children(or 22 percent) in South Carolina now living below the poverty level.
There was no statistical change in the child death rate.
Kids Count, funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is a national and state-by-state effort to track the status of children. Holmes says the organization provides policymakers and citizens with benchmarks of child well-being, in an attempt to enrich discussions concerning ways to secure better futures for all children.
“Being ranked 45th continually for the past two decades causes serious concern for the next generation of children,” said Sue Williams, chief executive officer of The Children’s Trust of South Carolina. “As a state we must begin to have a concentrated focus on the well-being of our children in a holistic manner.”