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A Slight Step Ahead for Ohio in Kids Count Ranking

July 28, 2009

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Buckeye State remains in the middle of the pack when it comes to a rating of the well-being of its children, jumping two spots to 28th in the annual Kids Count nationwide state rankings. Since 2000, Ohio has improved in five of ten key measurements of child well-bring, but the state continues to receive low marks for infant mortality, the percentage of low-birth weight babies and children in poverty.

Children's Defense Fund-Ohio Kids Count project director Barbara Turpin says the data show that Ohio children need some help and support getting on the road to success.

"Children are starting out with some strikes against them, and I think what we need to look at is preventive types of measures to help families up front, rather than waiting until they are already struggling."

However, there is also good news from the report. Since 2000, Ohio is better in the areas of child death rate, teen death rate, teen birth rate, high school dropout rate, and the percentage of teens not attending school.

Turpin says it's great to see improvements in the indicators affecting the teenage population.

"That's usually a high-risk population in terms of accidents and overall challenges, so it's looking better for our teens in terms of the positive outcomes in their lives."

Turpin says with job losses and the growing lack of health care because of the recession, Ohio could slip in the rankings for 2010.

"What will be interesting is to see how things happen next year, because this ranking happened before our economic downturn; we anticipate these numbers probably going a little bit higher."

In 2007, there were more than a half-million children in Ohio living in poor families.

The Kids Count date are available online at
datacenter.kidscount.org

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH