July 25, 2007
Providing a good environment for children is a top priority, and a new list ranks the fifty states in that effort.
On the list, Virginia is doing well, but many say the Commonwealth could be doing much better.
Virginia ranks 14th out of all 50 states, but child welfare advocates say as one of the top ten richest states, there’s no reason why our children shouldn't be in the top ten as well.
“Considering that these a concentration of wealth in the northern parts of Virginia that would lead me to believe that there are some real pockets and problem areas in the state where things are not getting addressed well,” said Maryfrances Porter, with the Albemarle/Charlottesville Commission on Children and Families.
T the commonwealth improved in areas like child and teen death rates, teen birth rates and high school drop out rates.
Where the numbers actually worsened were the number of infant moralities and children in single parent homes.
If we localize those numbers they show that Albemarle typically ranks higher in state averages, with the city of Charlottesville slightly lower.
Porter said, “One of the reasons for that is that Charlottesville has a much denser population of people that are living below the poverty level…we have a lot more need in Charlottesville.”
Sizing us up to the rest of the nation, the states doing the best are Minnesota, New Hampshire and Connecticut.
At the bottom of the list are Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Those at the local commission on children and families are working hard to make sure that in 2008 Virginia is in the top ten.
“Trying to make sure we identify everything’s that's out there and then get the information to the families that are interested and try to engage kids that are not necessarily engaged in positive activities,” said Roy Carpenter with the CCF.
Porter said, “I think that if we are able to address those needs locally we will be able to improve the health and well-being of all our residents.”
This study was put out by the 2007 Kids Count Data Book.