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Nevada Ranks Among Worst States for Children's Well-Being


Wednesday, June 27, 2018   

CARSON CITY, Nev. – Nevada ranks 47th in the nation when it comes to children's well-being, according to the 2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, released today.

The annual report ranks Nevada below national averages in almost all 16 indicators of economics, education, family and community, and health. But Denise Tanata, executive director of the Children's Advocacy Alliance, said Nevada has made steady gains since 2010.

"Obviously we're still ranked fairly low compared to other states; but of the 16 indicators, in 11 of those, we've gotten better rather than getting worse," Tanata observed. "So that, to me, is a good sign."

Nevada scored lowest in areas of education. The Casey Foundation ranks the state 49th in that category because of students' below-average proficiency levels in reading and math, as well as low on-time high school graduation rates.

In addition, the report says 64 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds in Nevada aren't enrolled in preschool, compared with 52 percent nationwide. Tanata believes that should be an area of focus for the state's lawmakers if they want to improve education rankings.

"What we know that the research tells us now, and I think is reflected in the data, is that we need to give kids a really strong foundation, so that they're entering school ready to learn," she added.

Laura Speer, associate director for policy reform and advocacy at the Casey Foundation, noted that getting accurate counts in the upcoming 2020 Census will be critical to ensuring children nationwide get access to the government services they need.

"There's about 4.5 million young children who live in neighborhoods where there's a high risk of missing kids in the count – and it's important, because the census will inform federal spending for the next decade," said Speer. "We really just have one shot to do this right."

Nevada receives more than $1 billion in federal funding each year for programs such as Medicaid, SNAP and Head Start, all based on census counts. But the Children's Advocacy Alliance estimates about 68,000 children in the state are at risk of being uncounted.

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