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Biden administration moves to protect Alaska wilderness; opening statements and first witness in NY trial; SCOTUS hears Starbucks case, with implications for unions on the line; rural North Carolina town gets pathway to home ownership.

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The Supreme Court weighs cities ability to manage a growing homelessness crisis, anti-Israeli protests spread to college campuses nationwide, and more states consider legislation to ban firearms at voting sites and ballot drop boxes.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

OR 'Middle of Pack' in Child Well-Being State Rankings

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Monday, August 8, 2022   

Oregon sits at 26th in a new ranking of states based on child well-being.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation has released its annual Kids Count data book, which measures states in four areas: economic well-being, education, health and family and community.

Jenifer Wagley - executive director of Our Children Oregon - said the state has improved in a lot of measures, such as a decrease of children in poverty.

"Then on the other hand," said Wagley, "Oregon is still right in the middle of the pack when it comes to rankings against all the other states. And we've got some real places that need attention, including our education system and supporting our families better when it comes to economic well-being."

Data for the report is from 2020, the first year of the pandemic. It finds that there's been an increase across the nation in the number of children and teens experiencing anxiety and depression.

Wagley called it a "youth mental health pandemic," and noted that numbers are higher in Oregon than the national average.

She also said it's important to dive into the numbers in this report.

For example, Wagley said that Oregon has the lowest rate of low birth-weight babies in the nation, at 6.5%. But that's not the case for all Oregonians.

"You see that there's real disparities in the way that our children of color and their birth-weights are," said Wagley. "And so in the places that we're doing well, we need to make sure that we're looking at the full data set and really not leaving anyone behind."

Wagley said there's proof that the state can enact policies that improve kids' lives.

"Only 4% of Oregon's kids don't have health insurance," said Wagley. "Well, that was a policy win. That was called Cover All Kids and it was a coalition of organizations and legislators and people leaning in to ensure that Oregon's kids were covered."

She also pointed to the expansion of the Child Tax Credit during the pandemic, which helped pull millions of kids out of poverty.



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


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