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Rhode Island Ranks 17th for Child Well-Being

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

 

The Ocean State is the 17th best in the nation for raising children, according to a new national ranking released today by KIDS COUNT.

 

The state stayed in the same spot as it had the previous year, but it still saw improvements in some areas, such as the teen birth rate, which saw a decline of 15 percent between 2000 and 2008. Rhode Island also ranks best in the country for the child death rate among children ages 1 to 14, with nine deaths per 100,000 children in 2007. It also has the second best teen death rate in the country.

The rankings are based on ten indicators, such as family economic security, child and teen development, health care, and education. All 50 states are ranked annually in the KIDS COUNT Data Book, which is issued by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Economic indicators worsen

For the first time, the rankings looked at the impact unemployment and foreclosures have on children.

“Thousands of Rhode Island families are currently dealing with unemployment or foreclosure. Our state’s unemployment rate is currently at 10.8 percent and the number of foreclosed homes in our state remains high,” said Elizabeth Burke Bryant, Executive Director of Rhode Island KIDS COUNT. “When a family faces serious financial challenges, children can experience physical and emotional health problems, increased school mobility and increased school absenteeism – compromising health and educational achievement.”

The percentage of Rhode Island children living in poverty went up from 15 percent in 2008 to 17 percent in 2009, but still was less than the national rate of 20 percent. In 2009, nearly one third of children were in families in which no parent had full-time, year-round employment.

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