Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - July 18, 2018 


Trump now says he misspoke as he stood side-by-side with Putin. Also on the Wednesday rundown: A Senate committee looks at the latest attempt to weaken the Endangered Species Act; and public input is being sought on Great Lakes restoration.

Daily Newscasts

Report: State Helps WA Kids, with Room for Improvement

A new report estimates about one in six Washington kids is at risk of not being counted in the 2020 U.S. Census. (Nicola/Flickr)
A new report estimates about one in six Washington kids is at risk of not being counted in the 2020 U.S. Census. (Nicola/Flickr)
June 27, 2018

SEATTLE – Washington state ranks 15th in the nation for children's well-being, according to an annual report released today.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book looks at how kids are doing in four categories: health, education, economic well-being, and family and community.

The state performed best in the health category, positioned at fifth overall.

According to Misha Werschkul, executive director of the Washington State Budget and Policy Center, that's in large part because of Washington Apple Health, which has helped drop the number of uninsured children to three percent. Still, Werschkul would like to see the state pick up the pace in other areas.

"Things are moving in the right direction, but they're not moving quickly enough and we're not where we need to be," said Werschkul. "And so, there's a real opportunity and imperative for our elected leaders to take action to continue the trend that we're headed on, of improvement."

The Evergreen State's lowest ranking is in education at 26th. Werschkul said the state needs to open up access to early-childhood education; 58 percent of Washington kids age 3 and 4 aren't in preschool, compared with the national average of 52 percent.

She noted, however, that the report data comes from 2016 and said the state has made some significant education investments since then.

The report also highlights the importance of an accurate count on the 2020 U.S. Census. Roughly 300 federal programs use census-derived data to allocate more than $800 billion a year.

The young-child under-count has gotten worse with every census since 1980, and was off by 1 million for this age group in 2010. Werschkul says one in six Washington kids is at risk of not being counted in the next census.

"And it's particularly kids of color, kids in rural areas, kids living on reservations that are going to be missed in the census, and that has real consequences for our state," she warned.

The Casey Foundation's Laura Speer, associate director for policy reform and advocacy, says 2020 census outreach efforts face daunting challenges: a lack of leadership, the first-ever digital survey, and the potential of suppressed participation because of a citizenship question.

"There's still not a permanent director, and we know that that's important," Speer explained. "There's the need to fund state and local outreach for the census; and especially for the under-count of children, it's important to expand the pool of trusted messengers around the census."

The full report is online at aecf.org.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA