Kentucky continues to rank low in children’s well-being, according to the 2011 Kids Count Data Book. The annual report measures various indicators like socioeconomic status and health. For the past seven years, it’s ranked near the bottom ten states for the overall well-being of children. This year, more than a quarter of Kentucky children live in poverty. The poverty rate in both the commonwealth and the nation rose 18 percent. Now, Kentucky ranks 48th out of 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.
“We now can say that more than one out of four children lives in poverty. And when you think about that kind of number the time has come to stop playing games on tax issues like the tax income tax credit and move ahead,” Terry Brooks is the executive director Kentucky Youth Advocates.
Results from the report show that more Kentucky children are in school and more have graduated. But Kentucky is behind when compared to the national average, said Brooks.
Brooks said his organization has two solutions that could help: First, the state should intact a state income tax credit, which would stimulate local economies and put money in the pockets of its people.
He also says better regulation of predatory lending practices would help alleviate poverty.
State lawmakers are busy playing politics and the answer to why Kentucky continually ranks low has to do with its priorities, said Brooks.
“We hear that horses are a signature industry, we hear that coal is a signature industry. When Kentucky makes children a signature industry, these numbers are going to start to change,” he said.
The report also measured the number children who are not in school or who are not high school graduates. Kentucky’s numbers decreased. But Brooks says when compared to the rest of the nation, that number has not decreased as quickly.