Annual survey shows disappointing news for Montana kids - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Annual survey shows disappointing news for Montana kids

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Montana 47th in annual Kids Count survey (MTN News photo) Montana 47th in annual Kids Count survey (MTN News photo)

Montana children are still struggling with poverty according to the 2015 Kids Count Data Book.

The count takes data from each state in four areas - economic well-being, education, health and family and community.  Montana received an overall ranking of 30th among the 50 states.  

One area of concern is the roughly 1-in-5 children that are living in poverty across the state - a number that has not improved since 2008.  

Jennifer Calder with Montana Kids Count says many parents of children living in poverty are often getting jobs that don't pay that well 

"There's really two parts. One is increasing the skills of the work force of families; the other is how do you support and develop the young children, the skill of young children as  high quality with early childhood education."

One piece of good news is that Montana has moved from 50th to 47th in health thanks to a decrease in children without health insurance, and in teens who abuse alcohol and drugs.

The survey is put on yearly by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.  Click here to read the report for Montana.

More about Kids Count from their website.

KIDS COUNT is a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation to track the well-being of children in the United States. By providing high-quality data and trend analysis through its KIDS COUNT Data Center, the Foundation seeks to enrich local, state and national discussions concerning ways to secure better futures for all children — and to raise the visibility of children's issues through a nonpartisan, evidence-based lens.

The Casey Foundation offers a number of recommendations to improve opportunities for all children. The Foundation promotes a two-generation strategy that simultaneously addresses the needs of children, while at the same time providing tools and resources for their parents, according to a news release from the University of Montana..

Three critical strategies include:

  • Providing parents with multiple pathways to get family-supporting jobs and achieve financial stability,
  • Ensuring access to high-quality early childhood education, and
  • Equipping parents to better support their children socially and emotionally and to advocate for their kids’ education.
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