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Wyoming Ranked 19th in Report on How States Treat Children

GRAPHIC: Snapshot of Wyoming KIDS COUNT rankings.
GRAPHIC: Snapshot of Wyoming KIDS COUNT rankings.
July 25, 2012

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - Wyoming has received its yearly check-up on how the state's children are doing, coming in 19th in the nation overall.

The KIDS COUNT Data Book, released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, shows Wyoming ranks strongest in the economic well-being and family and community categories - and weakest in health.

Marc Homer, director of Wyoming KIDS COUNT, says the state is trending in the right direction.

"If we continue with policies that will help children, and build upon those developments, we're now positioned, I believe, to move into the top 10 at some point."

Wyoming ranks nearly last in the nation in the health category. Homer explains that's because of the state's high child and teen death rate - with 47 deaths per 100,000 children.

"We know that Wyoming has a high suicide rate; that Wyoming is still ranked third-last in the nation for kids buckling up. Wyoming really needs to make a much greater concerted effort so we don't have so many needless and tragic deaths."

The report also notes that the teen birth rate in Wyoming is trending up, with 45 births per 1,000 teen-aged girls, while the national rate has been trending down.

Wyoming's child poverty rate is 14 percent, much lower than the national rate of 22 percent.

For comparison, Idaho is ranked 20th overall and Montana is 28th.

The KIDS COUNT Data Book is online at datacenter.kidscount.org.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - WY