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After the Trump assassination attempt, defining democracy gets even harder; Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate; DC residents push back on natural gas infrastructure build-up a new law allows youth on Medi-Cal to consent to mental health treatment.

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Former President Trump is injured but safe after an attempted assassination many condemn political violence. Democrats' fears intensify over Biden's run. And North Carolina could require proof of citizenship to vote.

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Report: SC kids need stronger economy, better education, resilient families

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Tuesday, June 11, 2024   

A report on the condition of America's children ranks South Carolina near the bottom of the 50 states in economic well-being, education and family but advocates say some of the numbers do contain bright spots.

The annual Kids Count Data Book found fewer South Carolina children come from single-parent families and live in high-poverty neighborhoods.

Sarah Knox, senior director of policy and advocacy for the Children's Trust of South Carolina, said the report gives her group a glimpse into what problems on which to focus their attention.

"We continue to have a high percentage of babies being born at a low birth weight. We continue to have a high rate of children and teen, child and teen death. We continue to have a high rate of children and teenagers with obesity," Knox outlined. "Those are the type of things that we're looking at and thinking about what we can do."

The Annie E. Casey Foundation study found more South Carolina kids are obtaining health insurance and the rate of teen pregnancies is down. The report ranks South Carolina 40th overall, with ratings of 36th in family and community, 39th in education, 40th in economic well-being, and 46th in health.

Knox noted the annual study is helpful in setting priorities with legislators and other policymakers about what programs are needed to benefit children.

"Every single year, we see things that have gotten maybe a little bit better and things have gotten a little bit worse," Knox pointed out. "We see this as reason to continue to invest in prevention programs across the state. Investing in prevention is really where we need to be so that we're not having to deal with issues downstream."

Leslie Boissiere, vice president of external affairs for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, said compared to peer nations, the U.S. is not equipping its children with the high-level reading, math and digital problem-solving skills needed in a highly competitive global economy.

"Our economy is propelled by a prepared workforce," Boissiere contended. "In order for our economy to work well, it's important that we prepare young people with the skills that they need so that they are entering the workforce prepared."

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


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