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New Report Ranks Mass. in Top Three States for Child Well-Being

High-quality public education and health care are two factors that place Massachusetts in the top three states nationwide for child well-being. (M. Clifford)
High-quality public education and health care are two factors that place Massachusetts in the top three states nationwide for child well-being. (M. Clifford)
June 13, 2017

BOSTON – The kids are all right in the Bay State, according to a new report. The state ranks second in the nation for overall child well-being.

The new Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2017 KIDS COUNT Data Book examines economic, education, health, family and community factors that affect kids.

Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center President Noah Berger says it is little surprise that the Bay State comes out tops for education.

"The good news is, this data shows the investments Massachusetts has made in our public schools are paying off," Berger says. "We have the best public schools in America. The danger is that with federal cuts looming, we may reduce the state's ability to provide high-quality education for all of our kids."

New England states took the top three rankings for overall child well-being. New Hampshire came in first, followed by Massachusetts and Vermont.

On the health front, the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Laura Speer, associate director for policy reform and advocacy, says the national trend is encouraging, with 95 percent of children now having access to health coverage.

"We need to hold the line on gains that we've made," Speer states. "This is not a time for us to back away from the investments that we've made in things like the Children's Health Insurance Program and the Earned Income Tax Credit. We've seen progress because of these investments, and we want to keep the progress going."

Given some of the proposals being floated in Washington, D.C., however, Berger warns this could be a critical time for protecting gains that have been made in health coverage for the state.

"It's good to see in the Casey data that Massachusetts remains one of the leading states on health care, particularly for kids," he says. "Unfortunately, a lot of that progress is under direct threat, because the Affordable Care Act could be repealed, and there could be major cuts to Medicaid."

He says that combination could have a devastating impact on the state's ability to continue to provide high-quality health care to its children.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - MA