Kentucky slips in child well-being trends
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - There are no bright spots for Kentucky in 2023.
State-to-state comparisons published annually show the Commonwealth falling behind in multiple categories measuring child health and welfare.
”My biggest takeaway is extreme anxiety for where we’re headed,” Kentucky Youth Advocates Executive Director Terry Brooks said. “What we have seen in over three decades of Kids Count is a certainty. And that is, where economic well-being is going today is where those other indicators are going to go tomorrow.”
The Kids Count Data Book, published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, revealed a poor showing by Kentucky in key areas of child well-being.
Kentucky drops to number 40th overall in the 2023 rankings, down from 37 in 2022.
That placed the state just ahead of South Carolina and West Virginia among states designated “worst.”
Kentucky ranked 40th in health, 42nd in family and community and 41st in economic well-being.
”And what frankly scares me to death is that this is a prelude to an accelerated decline in that area,” Brooks said. “And that’s going to lead to other problems in education, achievement, health outcomes and that stability factor when it comes to kids.”
Kentucky’s highest ranking was 29th in education, rising out of the “worst” category to states designated as “worse.”
”70% of fourth graders in Kentucky do not meet minimum national standards when it comes to reading,” Brooks said. “80% of eighth graders fail to meet minimal proficiency standards in math.”
The 2023 report shows Kentucky trending in the opposite direction of Indiana.
The Hoosier state improved four places over 2022 to 24th overall.
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