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PNS Daily Newscast - November 15, 2018 


Lawyer Michael Avenatti arrested on a domestic violence charge. Also on the Thursday rundown: more testimony on the anti-protest bill; plus we will take you to the Dakotas to celebrate American Education Week.

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Health Issues Keep SD's Child Well-Being in 29th Place

A new study ranks South Dakota 19th in the nation for children's well-being, but last in the health category, in part for leading the nation in teen DUIs and fatalities. (dmv.org)
A new study ranks South Dakota 19th in the nation for children's well-being, but last in the health category, in part for leading the nation in teen DUIs and fatalities. (dmv.org)
June 27, 2018

SIOUX FALLS, S. D. – South Dakota is doing a lot right when it comes to children's well-being, but the state still struggles to keep kids healthy.

The 2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation uses 16 indicators to gauge children's well-being.

South Dakota KIDS COUNT Program Director Carole Cochran says the state placed last in the nation in the report's health category, in part due to its higher-than-average child mortality rate. She says too often, those deaths are related to teens and driving.

"We know that a very high number of those child and teen deaths are from car crashes," Cochran laments, "and I think that's something we can take a look at to see if we can impact in a positive way."

On the positive side, the state's number of children living below the poverty line declined, and births to teen mothers continued to decrease, with a 29-percent drop between 2010 and 2016.

Overall, South Dakota ranked 19th in the nation for children's well-being. That compares to 11th for neighboring North Dakota, while Cochran says Minnesota ranked in 4th place nationwide.

"It's not in the top, and it's not really in the bottom," she observes. "I think South Dakota is better than 29th, overall, in child well-being."

In 2016, 17 percent of South Dakota children lived in families with incomes below the poverty line, down from 18 percent in 2010. But the poverty rate among the state's American Indian children was almost eight times higher than for white children.

Laura Speer, associate director for policy reform and advocacy with the Casey Foundation, says poverty anywhere in the U.S. can prevent kids from becoming successful adults.

"That means about 14 million children living in households that don't have enough income, really, to get by," Speer warns. "The trends are going in the right direction, but it's still too many kids and their families who are struggling just to make ends meet."

She adds the Casey Foundation is particularly concerned that potential inaccuracies in the 2020 U.S. Census count could pose threats to children that benefit from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Head Start and foster care, as census data is often used to allocate funding.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - SD