PNS Daily Newscast - August 20, 2019. 

A move for so-called ‘common-sense’ gun laws heads to the states. Plus, will Trump judges decide a decade of civil rights? (Broadcaster Note: Our 6-min. newscast now has an optional outcue at 3 minutes: “This is PNS.”)

Daily Newscasts

Report: Children's Health in WA Strong, But Economic Disparities Show

Washington state ranks 14th in the nation for child well-being, according to a new report. (Seattle Municipal Archives/Flickr)
Washington state ranks 14th in the nation for child well-being, according to a new report. (Seattle Municipal Archives/Flickr)
June 13, 2017

SEATTLE – Washington state ranks high in terms of children's well-being – but it could climb higher, according to a report released today.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2017 KIDS COUNT Data Book assesses states on key indicators of how children and families are faring, and this year ranks Washington 14th overall.

More children have health coverage than ever in the Evergreen State, with only 3 percent uninsured. That's the result of state efforts, as well as the expansion of Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program under the Affordable Care Act, according to Paola Maranan, executive director of the Children's Alliance.

"We are proud of the work that Washington has done to rank so high in terms of children's health," Maranan says. "We rank number five in the nation, and I think that's reflective of our long-term commitment to making sure every child in Washington has access to health care."

The state ranks near the middle of the pack in other categories. In education, Washington is 28th. Maranan says it's key to invest in early learning opportunities, especially for children of color.

The state ranks 24th in economic security. She says that ranking underscores the fact that families across the state have recovered unevenly.

"We definitely see that there is a disparity in Washington around who gets to recover and who doesn't," she states. "So clearly, what's happened is, child poverty rates have not moved as significantly as they should have in the recovery, given how well other folks in Washington are doing."

About 16 percent of Washington children live in poverty. Maranan says her group is convinced that investing in programs such as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) would make big improvements in families' lives.

Laura Speer, associate director for policy reform and advocacy with the Casey Foundation, notes that the United States continues to have one of the highest child-poverty rates among all developed countries.

"Economic stability for families is really important for kids' well-being," Speer says. "In looking at their long-term development, it's about having access to the basics for families, so that kids can focus on what they need to focus on, which is healthy development and going to school."

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA