West Virginia improved four places in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2016 national rankings of child well-being, going from 43rd to 39th in the nation in just one year
. West Virginia now ties for third best in the nation in terms of the percent of children covered by health insurance
. The state’s best rankings can be seen in the Economic Well-being (31) and Family and Community domains (33). However, the state continues to be in the bottom ten in the Casey Foundation’s Education (46) and Health (41) domains.
“This dramatic overall improvement in just one year’s time shows that, when West Virginia invests in the policies that improve kids’ lives, big changes are possible,” said Laura Gandee, interim executive director of West Virginia KIDS COUNT. “Our belief that dramatic, positive changes are possible is the driving force behind KIDS COUNT’s Race2Great campaign. In fact, we believe that, if West Virginia focuses on implementing four key policies over the next five years, we can make our state a top 20 place to be a kid by 2025.”
The four WV KIDS COUNT Race2Great policy pillars are an Earned Income Tax Credit for working families; high-quality pre-school for all three-year-olds; a significant increase in the tobacco tax to reduce pregnancy smoking and low birth-weight babies; and statewide implementation of the state’s health and sex education curriculum to reduce teen pregnancies. Gandee added, “If advocates, communities, and policymakers join forces and focus on implementing these four simple polices, we can make West Virginia a great place for every child, very soon.”
According to the 2016 KIDS COUNT® Data Book
from theAnnie. E. Casey Foundation
, the teenagers of Generation Z – the rising cohort that follows the Millennials – broke records in education and health indicators despite growing up in the midst of the economic downturn.
Additional information is available at http://databook.kidscount.org
, which also contains the most recent national, state and local data on hundreds of indicators of child well-being. The Data Center allows users to create rankings, maps and graphs for use in publications and on websites, and to view real-time information on mobile devices.