Texas shows improvement in latest Kids Count report


by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and photojournalist CHRISTIAN GARCIA

Bio | Email | Follow: @JimB_KVUE


Posted on June 24, 2013 at 6:03 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 24 at 6:21 PM

AUSTIN -- A national report finds Texas has made significant improvement in certain areas when it comes to the health and well being of children.
The 2013 Kids Count Report shows Texas now ranks 42 in the country when it comes to health and well being of children. That's up from 44.

"It still puts us in the bottom 10, but we're moving in a direction where we improved," said Frances Deviney, the Texas Kids Count Director at the Center for Public Policy Priorities. "That's the direction we want to be going."

The Annie E. Casey foundation out of Baltimore collects and reviews information. Then it breaks it down into four different categories: 1) Economic Well-Being, 2) Education, 3) Health, 4) Family and Community. Texas ranks 30th in Economic Well-Being. It ranks 31st in Education. Texas comes in at 36th in Health, and the state's worst showing comes in Family and Community where it ranks 48th.  That's ahead of only New Mexico and Mississippi.

"The reduction in the child uninsured rate is one of the biggest improvements for Texas," said Deviney. "We made a huge jump."

Deviney says another significant improvement is the state's eigth grade math scores.

"Now we still have 60 percent of our kids who are considered not proficient in math, but we went from about 70 percent of kids not proficient in math to about 60 percent not proficient in math," said Deviney. "That's a huge jump."

Deviney says even though the Texas economy is improving, the report indicates more Texas children are living in poverty.

"When children are exposed to economic hardships, that affects every other measure you're going to take," said Deviney. "That impacts their health and education outcomes."

"I'm not surprised (at the poverty numbers), because we're still trying to recover from a weak economy and loss of jobs and everything," said Corrine Bruton of Fort Worth. "It's going to take a long time."

Other residents say it's important to focus on the improvements Texas has made in the latest report.

"I think it's important for education and for health for the kids," said Edwina Marvin of Austin.

Texas showed improvement in nine of the 16 different indicators used in the report.

To read the 2013 Kids Count report for all 50 states, click here.

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