Kansas is 13th in the new 2018 KIDS COUNT® Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
“We rank above our immediate neighbors in Missouri, Oklahoma and Colorado,” said John Wilson with Kansas Action for Children. “That’s thanks to the tireless work that educators and advocates and legislators and all Kansans have done to improve the state.”
The annual Data Book uses 16 indicators to rank each state across four domains — health, education, economic well-being and family and community — as an assessment of child well-being. The economy in Kansas is improving, which means kids are more secure.
“We saw that the percentage of children whose parents lack secure employment declined to 20 percent from 27 percent in 2010,” said Wilson. “Nationally, the percentage is about 28.”
Kansas has a weak point educationally in that over half of 3 and 4 year olds are not in school and the number has been getting worse, but legislators are working to fix it.
“This last legislative session, lawmakers allocated more funding to early education,” said Wilson. “All the research is indicating that the sooner that we can get to young kids and invest in them and invest in high quality early learning, the better the results are going to be.”
It’s critical, given the needs of Kansas kids, that they be accurately counted in the 2020 U.S. Census. There is some concern that there will be undercounting of kids from communities of color and low-income or immigrant families, which would mean fewer federal resources than would be there if they were properly allocated.
The full interview with John Wilson is below.