Child Well-Being Report Ranks Kentucky In Bottom 15 States

Jul 25, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2012 Kids Count data book, a national report card ranking child well-being released Wednesday, placed Kentucky in the bottom fifteen states. But there are positive trends as well.

Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, says at first blush Kentucky’s economic numbers don’t look encouraging.

"If you look at every indicator for economic well-being, what we see is a decline. That should concern us all. When more than one our of four kids in Kentucky live in poverty and when that rate is increasing by some eighteen percent, that should be an alarm bell," he says.

Turn the page, however, and the state’s health numbers are moving in the right direction. Brooks says between 2008 and 2010, the number of uninsured children fell by 14 percent, Medicaid enrollment went up, and the Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as KCHIP, has also boosted its membership rolls. Still, the economic numbers show that the recession has taken a serious toll, leaving a third of children in families without secure parental employment. Brooks hopes the data will spur lawmakers to pass a state refundable earned income tax credit and tackle predatory lending practices, which he says could help turn the numbers around.