28 June 2017

So Much for "FAMILY VALUES" > Arizona Ranks #46

Arizona ranks 46th for kids’ well-being, with a cloudy future
Submitted by Joe Garcia on Wed, 06/21/2017 10:11am
PLEASE NOTE: Morrison Institute blogs are intended to further public discourse regarding key and timely issues via diverse voices, expertise and experiences – including, when appropriate, in pro-and-con format. Blogs do not represent any official position of Morrison Institute for Public Policy or Arizona State University.
It’s tough being a kid. For a variety of reasons, that’s especially true in Arizona.
Source: https://morrisoninstitute.asu.edu/blog
Arizona ranks among the bottom five in the nation in the 2017 KIDS COUNT Data Book, a yearly analysis of 16 indicators regarding children’s health, family and economic well-being.
Arizona always does poorly in the national report, which is commissioned by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, so perhaps no one will be surprised by Arizona’s 46th overall rating.
"As a member of the board of directors for Arizona Children’s Action Alliance, a non-profit children’s advocacy organization, I’m only too familiar with the high number and plight of Arizona’s most vulnerable population – our kids.
I guess if I am surprised at anything, it’s the lack of urgency in addressing these most-pressing problems associated with poverty, educational voids, health care gaps and domestic family strife.
Kids are only kids for only a short while. Arizona’s perennial position at the bottom of such rankings results in a generational if not predictable outcome – and it’s not good. Kids in crisis often turn into adults in crisis and, perpetuating the problem, often wind up raising kids in crisis themselves. And, so it goes..."
- Joe Garcia
2017 KIDS COUNT Data Book #DataBook 
State Trends in Child Well-Being
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Project
The 2017 KIDS COUNT Data Book urges policymakers not to back away from targeted investments that help U.S. children become healthier, more likely to complete high school and better positioned to contribute to the nation’s economy as adults.
The Data Book also shows the child poverty rate in 2015 continued to drop, landing at 21%. In addition, children experienced gains in reading proficiency and a significant increase in the number of kids with health insurance. However, the data indicate that unacceptable levels of children living in poverty and in high-poverty neighborhoods persist.
In this year’s report, New Hampshire ranked first among states for overall child well-being, moving up one from 2016. Massachusetts and Vermont filled out the top three. Louisiana, New Mexico and Mississippi were the three lowest-ranked states.
Link > http://www.aecf.org/resources/2017-kids-count-data-book/
June 13, 2017
An added note from Joe Garcia:
The report evaluated 2015 data, the report’s numbers don’t reflect the 20,000 Arizona children now enrolled in KidsCare, which was reinstated last year with the federal government paying 100 percent of the bill. During the six-year hiatus prior to the reinstatement, Arizona was the lone state without a Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for low-income kids.
Such improvements in Arizona children’s health care coverage, however, could be short-lived under proposed cuts to Medicaid and the current framework for the proposed American Health Care Act. Under a new provision of Arizona law, any tinkering of less than full federal commitment to KidsCare automatically would kill the insurance coverage for at-risk families who are just above Medicaid eligibility.
Such triggers could be make it tougher yet for Arizona kids and families trying to keep their heads above water, especially with a resulting state forecast that calls for more rain.
 

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