Child Welfare in the 21st Century

  • June 2013
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New Study from Annie E. Casey Kids Count Shows Long Term Risks for Children in Poverty:

Posted by lboyd544 on June 24, 2013

Newspapers across various states will be publishing this week details of the annual Kids Count Data Book and reflecting on improvements and declines concerning the well-being of their youngest citizens.

Oklahoma moved ‘up’ this year to 36th in child well-being (from 40th last year). Yet there is much to be alarmed about in terms of a child’s future. It is known that children’s brains develop most rapidly from birth to the age of entering school. Brains continue to mature and form through teen years; yet, with each skipped-step or missed-opportunity, optimum brain development, ie. optimum futures, is impacted.

According to Kids Count, in Oklahoma children living in poverty remains at 23%!   No improvement and basically, at the national average. Mind you, this is in a state that boasts accurately a strong economic base for future development and a recent past of sustaining minimal job loss due to the recent recession.

Oklahoma figures that worsened this year include 30% of children whose parents lack secure employment, 36 % of children living in single parent homes, and 59% of children not attending early childhood education. 73% of eight graders at not “at-level” in math. How many of today’s underperforming eight graders would have also shown up in those other groups of statistics 5 and 10 years prior?

These stats are just for Oklahoma. All states should be proud of any improvements; some states rightly boast of major strides forward. In Maryland, for example, there was a 10 percent decline in high school dropouts and a 16 percent decline in the teen birth rate between 2005 and 2010. However, 179,000 Maryland children, or 14 percent, were living in poverty in 2011, an increase of 27 percent since 2005. This is a huge increase in poverty of children in Maryland and yet their rate is still only 14%. Oklahoma’s, as noted above, is 23%.

How can our country tolerate any of these statistics? In one of the few, thriving, industrialized countries of the world, almost one-quarter of our most vulnerable citizens live in poverty! And there is no guaranteed access to basic health care for all our children! Let’s not even look at the awful statistics for dental health availability.
Oops, and might these factors impact mental health? Of course, they do!

This is my ‘moan’. And as you hear ‘moaning’ about less government, Obamacare, needed tax cuts, etc., please listen carefully. Who is talking and about whom are they talking? What is their plan for protecting tomorrow’s future? Are they willing to tackle the ‘shame’ of children’s conditions today?  

I don’t know of any political perspective or government (or private!) program that cannot be improved. I believe in conversation, sharing and working together. But I do know that boasting, refusal to listen and engage, and “putting one’s foot down” based on political ideology from whatever spectrum will not feed our children’s bodies or minds today and will not raise our nation to its potential in years to come.

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One Response to “New Study from Annie E. Casey Kids Count Shows Long Term Risks for Children in Poverty:”

  1. Chastity said

    You’re so interesting! I don’t think I’ve truly read something like this before. So good to discover another person with unique thoughts on this topic. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This website is one thing that is required on the internet, someone with some originality!

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