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WYO Kids Count Report: Where Have all the Children Gone?

November 7, 2007

Laramie, WY – Wyoming's children have been counted, and there are thousands less than there used to be. According to the new "Kids Count Data Book," which also tracks behaviors, health, and economic standings, the youngsters of the Equality State are not always as healthy, physically or economically, as they could be.

Marc Homer with Wyoming Kids Count says the booming state economy is an opportunity to improve life for Wyoming's children, as well as making the state more attractive to families. One starting point, he says, is to decide that quality childcare and early childhood education must be available and affordable for all Wyoming residents.

"In order to help sustain the economic boom and to develop a more diversified economy, it is imperative that Wyoming improve the state's childcare situation. Without it, Wyoming can't attract skilled workers or new businesses."

Homer believes Wyoming babies need special attention, because the percentage of mothers who smoke during pregnancy is twice the national rate. In addition, some Wyoming counties have high infant mortality rates.

Homer explains the report also has tracked a large percentage of high school and college graduates leaving Wyoming. He sees it as yet another indication that it's time for the state to make a greater investment in children.

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - WY