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State ranks low on child wellness

The 25th edition of the Kids Count Data Book was released this week, ranking California 40th of 50 states in child well being. 

The book, which shows both gains and losses nationally, ranks each state based on four fundamental domains: Education, family and community, health and economic well-being. 

California ranked 39th in education, 42nd in family and community, 29th in health, 46th in economic well-being and 40th overall.

Overall, Massachusetts took first and Mississippi placed last. 

“Knowing our vibrant and diverse communities, our incredible intellectual and financial resources, and our reputation for leadership and innovation, there is no excuse for California to be ranked 40th in children’s well-being,” said Ted Lempert, president of Oakland-based Children Now, which produced the report. 

“California ranks 11th in the nation on per capita state and local revenue, and yet we rank much lower, just 36th, in per pupil education spending,” he said.

Children Now is part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a nonprofit organization working to improve the outlook of children in the United States.

“Although all too easy to downplay, ignore or deny in the short term, the data and trends bearing on child development and children’s access to opportunity should command at least the same level of attention as statistics about our economy,” the book states. 

In the nation, education has seen steady, incremental success since 1990, the report said. It credited the widespread dissemination of research on the importance of early brain development and the 1994 creation of the Early Head Start federal program. 


For the complete story, see the July 25, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.    

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