A quarter of Kentucky’s children continue living in poverty, despite making gains in education and health indicators according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2012 Kids Count Data Book released this morning.
The annual report ranks overall child welfare by measuring 16 indicators in four subjects: economic well-being, family and community, health and education factors.
Kentucky moved from 41st to 35th in the country for overall child well-being, but Kentucky Youth Advocates director Terry Brooks said indicators have changed and measuring this years data sets with last year won't cut it.
It would be more appropriate, he said, to look at trending data, like Kentucky’s five year 18 percent increase in child poverty between 2005 and 2010.
Brooks said Kentucky lawmakers have failed to address changing family dynamics, which show high numbers of teen pregnancy and children living in single parent homes.
“What we know if you don’t have Wally and Beaver Cleaver living with Ward and June. The kids in Kentucky, we can’t assume live with mom and dad and one point five bothers and sisters,” said Brooks.
Efforts to improve child well-being have taken a back seat to other issues in the state, he said. Brooks argues the state's focus should support programs and legislation that reflect this change in the family make up.
Indiana ranks 31st for overall child well-being.