INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana is losing ground compared to other states when it comes to children’s overall well-being, according to new data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count report. But, the Indiana Youth Institute says the drop in rankings isn’t as bad as it sounds.
In the 2014 edition of Kids Count, Indiana ranked 27th in children’s overall well-being. This year, that dropped to 32nd. But Indiana Youth Institute interim CEO Glenn Augustine says that’s more a case of other states, such as Missouri and New York, improving just a little more than Indiana.
“In three quarters of the categories the Casey Foundation looks at, Indiana either held its own or improved,” Augustine said.
The only areas where Indiana really lost ground were on economic issues. The Hoosier state worsened in the percentage of children in poverty – 22 percent – and the percentage of children – 12 percent – living in high-poverty areas. Augustine says impoverished families are often the last to recover from a recession.
“What we need to do in the public and private sectors is look at these numbers and reach out to those families in poverty and ensure that they get the services and support that they are eligible for,” Augustine said.
One area of significant improvement is the percentage of babies born with a low birthweight. After several years performing worse most other states, Indiana, at 7.9 percent, is below the national average.