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Fri October 12, 2012
America's investment in childhood earns disappointing grade
According to First Focus and Save the Children, two organizations that advocate for children at the state and federal levels, the United States is barely getting a passing grade when it comes to childhood well-being.
The two organizations released America's report card, and gave the country a C-minus overall.
The grades in the report are subjective but were created through a collaborative process of policy experts from both organizations. These grades also match findings from the Anne Casey Foundation's Kids Count Data Book and the Foundation for Child Development's Child Well-Being Index.
The report focused on five areas: economic security, early childhood, k-12 education, permanency and stability, and health and safety. The grades for three of those areas are listed below.
Economic Security: D
- Nearly 22 percent of children lived in poverty in 2011
- In 2011 43.9 percent of children under age 18 were living in low-income families.
- In 2011 67 percent of low-income households with children spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs.
Early Childhood: C-
- Between 2008 and 2010, over half of eligible children ages three to four were not enrolled in preschool.
- In 35 states and the District of Columbia, the average annual cost of center-based day case for an infant was higher than one year of tuition and fees at a public four-year college.
Health and Safety: C+
- In 2011, 90.6 percent of children had health coverage.
- The United States has one of the worst infant mortality rate among industrialized nations.
- From 2009 - 2010, 16.9 percent of children between age 2 and 19 were considered obese.
The other two categories, permanency and stability and k-12 education, earned a D and C-minus respectively.
Of course the issues affecting children on a national level also affect children right here in Michigan. In some cases, the situation in Michigan is worse.
For example, nearly one-quarter of children in Michigan live in poverty, almost two percentage points higher than the national average. Michigan also has one of the worst infant mortality rates in the country.
The C-minus isn't failing, but it isn't great either. Both organizations suggest greater attention needs to be given to issues that affect children. That's a common-held belief here at State of Opportunity.
To view the full report, visit First Focus.