Bill's Eye: It’s Kentucky Kids Who Count

Feb 23, 2012

For a few minutes today, let’s put aside expanded gambling, redistricting, Medicaid, and pill mills and talk about Kentucky kids. In a Weekly Wrap-up, Kentucky Youth Advocates (KYA)  is writing about the plight of the children in the Commonwealth. It is not a pretty picture. One of Executive Director’s Terry Brook’s brightest policy analysts has taken a look at the latest annual national snapshot from the  Annie E. Casey Foundation and found some disturbing news for kids in Kentucky.

Senior Analyst Katie Carter reports that to improve the health and well-being of kids in the state it will take wise investment in our children and families.  If that happens, the payback for future generations will be there with a lifetime of productivity and responsible citizenship.

Here’s more from what Carter wrote today:

“The latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey reveals that 13 percent of Kentucky’s children are growing up in areas where at least 30 percent of the residents live below the federal poverty level (about $22,000 a year for a family of four), up from 11 percent in 2000."

"The impact of growing up in these high-poverty communities is not simply about dollars. It is really about opportunities or the lack thereof. These highly impoverished environments create health and developmental challenges for children throughout their lives – including making it more difficult for them to succeed in school and increasing the likelihood for future financial hardship as adults. If we want a more prosperous Kentucky in the future, then the work must begin now. And the most immediate work is creating better opportunities for our children through better economics for families.”

There’s more on the KYA website from Ms. Carter and others.

I think Katie and all the folks at KYA—in fact, all of us, need to be more aware of the report and how it might make us think about what’s going on in the state when it comes to families and children.

We should be doing better; we’ve got to do better.