A national report on child welfare ranks Kentucky in the bottom half of states in the well-being of children. The Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count project collects and reports data from federal, state and local sources to track the well-being of children in the United States. The report looks at 16 indicators of child well-being that span four general areas — economic well-being, family and community, education and health.The project published its 2013 report on June 23.
Kentucky is ranked 34th overall in the well-being of children, according to the report, up one spot from last year. Kentucky is ranked 32nd in children’s economic well-being, 31st in child health, 28th in education and 38th in family and community measurements.
According to the report, 27 percent of Kentucky children live in poverty, compared to 23 percent for the U.S. The most recent data for Washington County shows a much lower child poverty rate of 17 percent, representing 457 county children.
On July 1, the state reduced the income eligibility for families to receive child care assistance from 150 percent of the federal poverty level to 100 percent of the federal poverty level, making Kentucky’s eligibility rate the lowest in the nation. According to state estimates, these cuts will immediately cause 8,700 families to lose child care assistance each month and impact 14,300 children. This round is the latest in a series of cuts to both the Child Care Assistance Program and the Kinship Care Program.