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Report Shows Well-Being of CT Children Rising

Connecticut ranks first among the states for 3- and 4-year-olds in early-childhood education. (USDA)
Connecticut ranks first among the states for 3- and 4-year-olds in early-childhood education. (USDA)
June 13, 2017

HARTFORD, Conn. – Connecticut is in the top 10 states for the overall well-being of its children, but there still are reasons to be concerned.

The latest KIDS COUNT Data Book, from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, says more children have health insurance and a record 83 percent of students nationally finished high school on time.

But, according to Laura Speer, associate director for policy reform at AECF, since the Great Recession, the number of children living in areas of concentrated poverty nationally has increased.

"It's now about 14 percent of all children, which is too many kids and something that we need to pay attention to," she says.

Fifteen percent of Connecticut children live in poverty, but the state still ranks sixth among all states for the overall well-being of children.

Emmanuel Adero, the policy analyst at the Connecticut Association for Human Services, notes Connecticut has made significant progress in early-childhood education and the number of children with health insurance, but that progress is threatened.

"The ranking for young children in school has the potential to be jeopardized by the state's investment in early child care," he says. "The way the budget's situated right now, a lot of early child-care funding is in jeopardy, and unfortunately with that would go the rate of young children in school."

He adds that access to quality child care is essential to children's overall development and educational advancement.

In Washington, the health-care bill that passed the House would cut billions from Medicaid and other health programs.

Speer emphasizes the importance of holding the line on the progress that has been made.

"This is not a time for us to back away from the investments that we've made in things like the Children's Health Insurance Program and the Earned Income Tax Credit," Speer added. "We've seen progress because of these investments, and we want to keep the progress going."

The 2017 KIDS COUNT Data Book is based on figures available through 2015.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT