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Monday, July 15, 2024

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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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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Colorado drops two spots to 17th nationally for child wellness

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Wednesday, June 12, 2024   

Colorado lost ground - dropping from 15th to 17th overall - in this year's Kids Count Data Book by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which ranks states for child well-being.

Madeleine Ashour, youth success director with the Colorado Children's Campaign, said before the pandemic, just 16% of Colorado students were chronically absent from school. But that rate jumped to 30% by 2022. She said that's a lot different from "Ferris Bueller days," when two absences meant a visit to the principal's office.

"They are missing 10% or more of the academic school year," she explained. "Missing that amount of school has really serious long term effects on learning, especially in the younger grades."

In 2022, 72% of Colorado students had below proficient math scores, up from 63% in 2019. Reading scores also dropped by 3%. Ashour says Colorado can do more to prepare kids to enter the workforce as adults by using unspent pandemic funding to expand access to intensive tutoring.

Leslie Boissiere, vice president of external affairs with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, said compared to peer nations, the U.S. is not giving kids the high-level reading, math and digital problem-solving skills needed for many of today's fastest-growing occupations in a competitive global economy.

"Our economy is propelled by a prepared workforce. And so, 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," Boissiere explained.

Ashour noted Colorado lawmakers have taken steps to address the most fundamental aspect of children's well being - the more than one in ten children currently living in poverty - by passing the Family Affordability Tax Credit, which prioritizes low-income families with young children.

"So, when combined with the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, those three tax credits have the potential to cut Colorado's child poverty rate in half, and make it potentially the lowest in the country," she continued.

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


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