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NY Combats Maternal Depression and More

PHOTO: The latest Kids Count research shows a 34-percent increase in children being raised by single parents, many of whom could benefit from a new New York law aimed at helping screen and treat maternal depression. Photo credit: Randen Peterson / Flickr.
PHOTO: The latest Kids Count research shows a 34-percent increase in children being raised by single parents, many of whom could benefit from a new New York law aimed at helping screen and treat maternal depression. Photo credit: Randen Peterson / Flickr.
August 13, 2014

NEW YORK - A new law in New York aims to combat the problem of maternal depression, and local advocates cite plenty of evidence that it's an issue that needs attention.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed S 6234B and A 9610B this month. The new law provides information and guidelines on screening for maternal depression along with public education to promote greater awareness of the condition.

Larry Marx, executive director of the Children's Agenda in Rochester, said the state is making progress in reducing the number of teen mothers. However, the latest Kids Count research shows a 34 percent increase in the number of New York children being raised by a single parent. Marx said many are simply not ready to be parents.

"Increasingly, young parents haven't had good parenting themselves," he said, "and one of the keys to success for children is excellent parenting."

The Kids Count report also contains some bright spots, including the finding that almost 200,000 more New York children are attending preschool. Stephanie Hogenson, research and policy director for the Children's Defense Fund, said this type of investment in early education is a two-pronged benefit for families.

"Early education allows parents to work - so their child has a safe, stable place to go while the parent works, or both parents work," she said, "as well as, it supports the child and improves their academic outcomes, increasing their potential for college."

Also on the plus side, New York ranks fifth in the nation for children's health. According to Kids Count, the state recorded a 9-percent drop in the number of low-birth-weight babies from 2005 to 2012.

State rankings are online at aecf.org.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY