Children deserve more

Published 11:06 am Wednesday, July 30, 2014

You haven’t heard that much about children’s issues in this year’s campaigns for statewide offices and Congress in Ohio and Michigan.

The flippant explanation is that children don’t vote or make campaign contributions. But even if too many elected officials allow such cynical calculations to guide their behavior, voters can’t afford to.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation, a private philanthropy that is one of the nation’s most effective advocates of child-welfare and juvenile-justice reform, has just released this year’s edition of its Kids Count data book.

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The annual report assesses how children are doing, across the country and in each state, in four areas: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community.

The 2014 report suggests that the kindest adjective to apply to the condition of children in Ohio and Michigan is “mediocre.” That’s not good enough.

Our children deserve more-effective public policies (as well as private efforts) to improve their lives, but won’t get them until voters demand them.

Ohio ranks a middling 24th overall among the states on the Kids Count report card — slightly better on education, health, and economic well-being, but worse on family and community measures….

One of every four Ohio children lives in poverty, and one of every three has parents who lack secure jobs, the report says.

Both rates are slightly above the national average, and both have gotten worse since the Great Recession.

Ohio also lags behind the nation in teen births and in its rates of children who live in single-parent families and in high-poverty areas — a measure of economic segregation.


The (Toledo) Blade