KIDS COUNT Data Book: Indiana Ranks 30th for Overall Child Well-Being
INDIANAPOLIS--Indiana ranks 30th for overall child well-being, according to the 2019 KIDS COUNT Data Book, which came out Monday.
That book was released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, where Lisa Hamilton is the President and CEO. The Data Book draws from numerous sources to focus on key trends in the post-recession years. It measures child well-being in four areas: economic, education, health, and family and community.
"Indiana fares best in the area of education. That means the state is making some important investments to make sure children are graduating from high school on time and that young people have access to early childhood education," Hamilton said.
But she says Indiana continues to struggle in making sure children have access to healthcare and that families have the economic stability that they need. She believes Indiana can invest in strong policies that help children.
"First, Indiana needs to make sure it expands programs that help kids stay healthy. Programs like children's health insurance programs, health insurance programs, or any program that make sure children can show up at school ready to learn would be helpful," Hamilton said.
Hamilton says there are tax credit programs like the earned income tax credit or child tax credit, that help working parents use more of their pay to help their kids needs. She also says the data book shows a strong disparity along ethnic and racial lines in Indiana.
"African-American, American-Indian, Hispanic, and Asian-Pacific Islander children are not faring as well as their white peers," Hamilton said.
Which she says has happened, in part, because of policies that have been created that serve as barriers to those children and their families.
"So if Indiana can focus on making sure that all children have access to the resources they need to be successful, it will ensure that the state is stronger and the country is stronger overall," Hamilton said.
The book found that nearly one in five American kids grow up in poverty. Hamilton said since the publication of the first Data Book in 1990, there's been virtually no progress on child poverty.
(PHOTO: Getty Images/B. Fanton)