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Nevada Inches Up on Child Well-Being, But Still Ranks 46th Nationwide

Nevada reduced its percentage of teens who were not in school and not working, from 15% in 2010 to 9% in 2018, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, but the data was collected prior to COVID-19. (nastya_gepp/Pixabay)
Nevada reduced its percentage of teens who were not in school and not working, from 15% in 2010 to 9% in 2018, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, but the data was collected prior to COVID-19. (nastya_gepp/Pixabay)
June 25, 2020

LAS VEGAS -- Child well-being in Nevada saw small improvements in a new report, but still ranks 46th overall compared with other states -- and that's without anticipated setbacks due to COVID-19.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation's Kids Count Data Book looks at economic, education, health and other issues related to children's well-being and family stability.

Jared Busker, interim executive director of the Children's Advocacy Alliance in Nevada, said the state reduced the number of children whose parents lack secure employment, but that was before the pandemic bumped Nevada's unemployment rate to 25%.

He believes future data about children's well-being needs to be watched closely, and said the priority is clear: "We need to continue to advocate for as much as we can to really support our children and families at this time, because they need it now more than they've ever needed it."

The numbers don't take into account the economic fallout from the health crisis, either.

Busker said his group will be monitoring cuts to funding for children and families when a special session of the Nevada Legislature is held in early July to address financial and other pandemic-related issues.

Nevada improved or stayed the same in 13 of the 16 indicators in the Data Book, but lost ground in the categories of low birth-weight babies; children and teens who are overweight or obese; and the number of children living in single-parent families.

As Nevada reopens, Busker added, his group is looking at ways to make it easier for parents who need affordable child care to return to work.

"For instance, one of the things that we're seeing is that over 50% of our child-care providers that were open prior to the COVID-19 pandemic are now closed," he stated.

In this year's Data Book, Massachusetts ranked first for child well-being, followed by New Hampshire and Minnesota. Louisiana, Mississippi and New Mexico are the three lowest-ranked states.

Disclosure: Annie E Casey Foundation contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Education, Juvenile Justice, Welfare Reform. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Roz Brown, Public News Service - NV