Tuesday, February 7, 2023


Bill to expand tax credits draws on children's health data, Alaskans file petition opposing giant grocery merger, and a revised Colorado water plan prioritizes conservation.


President Biden is set to give the State of the Union address, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy calls the national debt limit the United States' greatest threat, and Kamala Harris announces new pledges to offer more economic stability in Central America.


Is bird flu, inflation or price gouging to blame for astronomical egg prices? Pregnancy can be life-changing or life-ending depending on where you live, and nine tribal schools are transforming their outdoor spaces into community gathering areas.

Report: MT 20th in Child Well-Being; Mental Health Remains an Issue


Monday, August 8, 2022   

Montana ranks in the upper half of states for child wellbeing, according to an annual report. But mental health among young people remains a concern.

The KIDS COUNT Data Book ranks states based on four categories: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. This year, it places the Treasure State at 20th.

Xanna Burg is KIDS COUNT coordinator with the Montana Budget and Policy Center. She noted that depression and anxiety are high among Montana children and teens.

"The reality here is that Montana youth have struggled with mental health for years," said Burg. "So this isn't a new topic. But the concerning piece and really, the urgency behind talking about this now, is that the trends really are getting worse."

The data was collected from 2020, the first year of the pandemic. The report, from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, finds mental health is a concern across the country, as kids felt the pressures from COVID-19.

Nationally, nearly 12% of children had anxiety or depression. In Montana, the number was 13.4%.

Burg said more counselors in schools is one way to addressing these growing numbers, although she noted that the solutions might look different in rural communities.

"Rural communities might not have the student population to fund a full-time counselor," said Burg. "So, ways to think about sharing staff among school systems, implementing telehealth or partnering with other community health services may be other ways to think about how this need is filled."

The number of children in poverty has improved, but Burg said it's still concerning that 34,000 Montana kids are living in families with incomes below the poverty line.

She said the federal government has offered supports, such as additional food assistance during the pandemic, but noted that this help is likely to expire soon.

"So, at a state level," said Burg, "thinking about how we're supporting families that are still struggling to afford things like healthy food, so that when kids show up to school, they're ready to learn and they're not thinking about being hungry."

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.

get more stories like this via email
As many as 11% of eligible voters do not have the kind of identification that is required by states with strict ID requirements, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said a bill to require Maine voters to present photo identification in order to cast ballots is unnecessary and coul…

Social Issues

A bill to increase tax credits in the Commonwealth is backed up by research showing the credits lead to better nutrition for working families and bett…


Part of the deal Wyoming struck for sending its water down the Colorado River was that state residents would be able to tap electricity generated at G…

Advocates and activists from both the liberal and conservative sides are trying to encourage voter turnout for the upcoming state Supreme Court race, given the impact the outcome will have on the court's ideological balance. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Wisconsin's primary election is two weeks away, and a high-profile state Supreme Court race is on the ballot. Several advocacy groups are behind a …


A coalition of conservation groups is giving Colorado's revised state water plan a thumbs-up for its increased focus on protecting Colorado's rivers…

Last year, the Federal Trade Commission reported a 70% increase in reported fraud losses from consumers. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Victims of investment-related fraud in North Dakota could soon recoup some of their losses through a proposed restitution fund. A bill to establish …

Social Issues

West Virginia is among a handful of states with the highest increases in educational attainment between 2019 and 2021, according to a new report from …

Social Issues

The state's "divisive concepts" law is preventing educators from holding rational discussions about race relations in America, New Hampshire civil …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021