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Education and Health Improve for Ohio Kids, but Poverty Persists

PHOTO: A new national report finds Ohio has made strides in improving children's education and health, but children living in poverty remains a pressing problem. Photo credit: Kristine Kisky / Morguefile.
PHOTO: A new national report finds Ohio has made strides in improving children's education and health, but children living in poverty remains a pressing problem. Photo credit: Kristine Kisky / Morguefile.
July 22, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Buckeye State is in the middle of the pack in a national snapshot of child well being, ranking 24th among all 50 U.S. states.

Data from the 2014 Kids Count Data Book finds Ohio largely following national trends, and making progress in education and children's health since 2005. But according to Dawn Wallace-Pascoe, Kids Count project manager with the Children's Defense Fund-Ohio, the state lags behind others in economic well-being and family and community.

"Ohio ranked fairly poorly in children in poverty," says Wallace-Pascoe. "We ranked 32nd. We also rank 28th for children whose parents lack secure employment, so even though there's signs the economy is recovering, we still have some way to go with economic well-being."

According to the findings, Ohio ranks 36th for children living in high-poverty neighborhoods.

Wallace-Pascoe says continued work is needed to improve programs that help support children, and is hopeful there will be a reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program in 2015, along with other investments that help low-income families.

"More funding for early childhood education, food stamps or SNAP benefits, Medicaid, all those programs are really important to continue because we still have a lot of families teetering on the edge of poverty here in Ohio," she says.

Massachusetts, Vermont, Iowa, New Hampshire and Minnesota rank highest for overall child well-being in the 2014 Kids Count Data Book. Arizona, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico and Mississippi rank lowest.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH