Report: Kentucky Ranked Worst In Nation Using Early Childhood Experience Measure

Nov 4, 2013

A report released Monday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows the Commonwealth continuing to struggle with childhood poverty.

The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success report contains some sobering numbers for the state. Kentucky Youth Advocates Executive Director Terry Brooks says while many of the issues raised are already well known, it’s the scope of the problems that could grab the attention of lawmakers.

"This report paints a really alarming picture," he says. "52 percent of children under nine in Kentucky live below the 200% poverty level and that level is what experts say families need to make it in terms of mortgages, food, and utilities."

According to the report, Kentucky also ties Montana as the state where the highest percentage – 10 percent – of kids under nine have experienced three or more childhood traumas such as divorce, the death of a parent, or living with someone who has abused drugs.

Brooks hopes the numbers will convince lawmakers to stop cuts to early childhood programs and assistance and look for ways to better coordinate school, health, and family services.