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Winter Storm Avery takes lives, puts the brakes on commutes across the Northeast. Also on our Friday rundown: A first-of-its-kind report calls for policies to ease transitions of young people living in foster care. And "got gratitude" this holiday season? It could benefit your health.

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Report: California Cuts Rate of Uninsured Children By More than Half

A new report shows more California children have health insurance, but the state lags behind on other major indicators of child well-being. (Cathy Yeulet/iStockphoto)
A new report shows more California children have health insurance, but the state lags behind on other major indicators of child well-being. (Cathy Yeulet/iStockphoto)
June 24, 2016

Sacramento, CA - A new report has good and bad news for California's kids. It says many more have health insurance, but poverty continues to threaten many aspects of their overall well-being. Comments from Jessica Mindnich (MIND-nick), director of research for the group Children Now.

Despite the recession, California's rate of uninsured children was cut by more than half from 2008 to 2014 - thanks largely to Medi-Cal expansion under the Affordable Care Act, according to a new report. The 2016 Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, also found that young people are graduating from high school at much higher rates, and fewer teens are having children or abusing drugs. The report ranks California 36th among states for overall child well-being. Jessica Mindnich, with the nonprofit group Children Now, says that isn't great - but it's a major improvement over a few years ago, when the Golden State ranked 41st.

"So, we are seeing some of the policy changes and investments that our government has made in California's children, paying off."

She notes even more children will be insured this year, with a law allowing undocumented children to enroll in Medi-Cal that took effect in May. But the report also says California has a long way to go, particularly in terms of fighting poverty.

Mindnich points out that California ranks 47th in children's economic well-being - and one-third of their parents lack full-time, year-round employment.

"Currently, 23 percent - or roughly one in four kids in California, over two million - are living at or below the federal poverty line."

Children Now is calling on policymakers to continue investing in children's programs and services to solidify the current upward trends in young people's well-being.

Despite the recession - California's rate of uninsured children was cut by more than half from 2008 to 2014 - thanks largely to Medi-Cal expansion under the Affordable Care Act, according to a new report. Suzanne Potter has details.

I'm Suzanne Potter

Report: http://www.aecf.org/resources/the-2016-kids-count-data-book/. Reach Mindnich at 650-743-0126.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA