Issues such as deep poverty, lagging reading proficiency and children living away from their parents are still major hurdles for Kentucky children, according to Kentucky Youth Advocates. The group released its annual KIDS COUNT report Tuesday morning, looking at how children in each of Kentucky’s 120 counties are doing on 17 measures of child well-being.
The analysis found between 2010 and 2015, there was a slight reduction in the number of children in Kentucky living in poverty. But still, about 25 percent of Kentucky children live in poverty, which is defined as below 100 percent of the federal poverty level. Another 48 percent live in low-income families, which is below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
This year, for the first time, Kentucky Youth Advocates changed its approach. Rather than ranking the counties against each other, the new analysis pits each county against its past self. So for each measure, the report looks at whether the county has made progress or regressed.
The report also examines various family and community factors. In some ways, there’s been progress: like with declining numbers of children who are incarcerated. But other numbers—like in children living in out-of-home care—have increased.
“Out-of-home care” includes residential facilities, foster care and with relatives. And in 88 of Kentucky’s 120 counties, there are more kids living in these situations than ever before.