2017 KIDS COUNT County Data Book Details Current Status of Well-Being for Kentucky Children

The 2017 Kentucky KIDS COUNT County Data Book offers the latest data on 17 measures of child well-being, showing whether outcomes for children have improved, worsened, or stayed the same over a five-year period. It also offers detailed data for all 120 Kentucky counties, and calculates how many children would be impacted if Kentucky was able to make just a 10 percent improvement for each measure.

“The message behind the KIDS COUNT data is clear: giving children opportunities to succeed is essential if our state is to reach its potential,” said Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates (KYA). “Looking at data change over time illuminates areas of progress and areas of needed policy change and investment. If all of our kids-no matter their families’ income, skin color, or zip code-are to grow up to be healthy and productive citizens, their needs must be prioritized.”

The 2017 County Data Book allows users to investigate areas in which Kentucky and its counties are making progress and those needing focused attention for improvement by highlighting information and data in four domains of child well-being: economic security, education, health, and family and community.

“Quality data helps us focus our efforts to build healthier and safer communities,” said Mark Carter, CEO of Passport Health Plan, the signature sponsor of the Data Book. “That’s why we are so pleased to sponsor a tool that health provider partners, community agencies, youth, and advocates across Kentucky can utilize to build stronger communities for our future – our children.”

For example, health data continues to show progress for Kentucky kids. Nearly 96 percent of children under age 19 and 77 percent of young adults age 19-25 have health insurance, which they depend on to stay healthy. In addition, rates of smoking during pregnancy, babies born at low birthweight, and teen births all improved over the past 5 years.

Read the 2017 Kentucky KIDS COUNT County Data Book and access the Kentucky KIDS COUNT Data Dashboard, featuring data trends from the 2017 report, at  kyyouth.org.


Kentucky children continue to struggle with their health depending on where they live, according to new report

KY Youth Advocates logoThe annual Kentucky Kids Count report has measured the overall well-being of Kentucky’s children for 26 years, and this year’s report finds that today’s youth are healthier and completing high school on time despite mounting economic inequality and increasingly unaffordable college tuition.

“We need to continue to implement policies and practices that help all children, and in order to do that, we must face some uncomfortable truths,” Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, said in a release. “One of those truths is that the ZIP code in which children live, the amount of money their family earns, and the color of their skin are pervasive and powerful influences on the childhood they will have and the future they can embrace.”

The report looks at four major categories – Economic Well-Being, Education, Health, and Family & Community – and ranks the states accordingly. Kentucky showed improvements in 11 of the 16 major categories, en route to an overall ranking of No. 35 (Minnesota is No 1, while Mississippi is No. 50). In fact, Kentucky showed improvements in all four Health categories (low-birthweight babies, children without health insurance, children and teen deaths per 100,000, and teens who abuse alcohol or drugs) and was ranked No. 16 in the nation in the Health category.

To see the Kentucky profile, please click here. To see the full report, please click here.

The Kentucky Kids Count report, released by KYA, is part of the 26th annual release of the County Data Book, which ranks every Kentucky county on overall child well-being through 16 measures in four areas: economic security, education, health and family, and community strengths.

The 2016 KIDS COUNT Data Book is produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a private philanthropy based in Baltimore and working across the country that is devoted to developing a brighter future for millions of children at risk of poor educational, economic, social and health outcomes.


Kentucky ranks 35th in overall child well-being, according to latest KIDS COUNT Data Book

KY Youth Advocates logoKentucky ranks 35th in the nation in overall child well-being, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2016 KIDS COUNT® Data Book that was just released. In addition, Kentucky ranks 38th in economic well-being, 27th in education, 16th in health, and 37th in the family and community domains.

“The real issue is not a drop or increase of one position, but rather that Kentucky continues to be in the bottom one-third of all states,” Kentucky Youth Advocates (KYA) Executive Director Dr. Terry Brooks said in a news release. “Are we really content with the idea that two-thirds of America’s children are better off than Kentucky kids?”

All four indicators in the health category showed improvement for Kentucky: The percent of children without health insurance fell from 10 percent in 2008 to 6 percent in 2014; the rate of child and teen deaths fell from 29 per 100,000 in 2008 to 24 per 100,000 in 2014; the percent of low birth-weight babies fell from 8.2 percent in 2008 to 8.0 percent in 2014; and the percent of teens abusing alcohol or drugs fell from 8 percent in 2007-08 to 5 percent in 2013-14.

“We are seeing better health outcomes for kids in Kentucky, and expanded health coverage and access to quality care play a vital role in making that happen,” Dr. Susan Zepeda, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky said in the news release. “Families have been able to sign up for benefits online, streamlining the enrollment process. The decrease in kids without coverage may be due in part to expanded Medicaid coverage for low income adults that began in January 2014. Research shows that when parents have health coverage their children are more likely to also be signed up for health insurance.”

The national KIDS COUNT Data Book, which was co-released by KYA, provides state-level data and rankings; the 2016 Kentucky KIDS COUNT County Data Book, which includes county-level data and rankings, will be released in November.

To read the full report, please click here. For more information about the Data Book and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, please click here.


Thousands of Kentucky babies and children exposed to secondhand smoke each year, new report shows

No Smoking SignThe Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children has released a report on the impact of exposure to secondhand smoke on our state’s youngest residents, and the data is astounding.

The report, titled “Clearing the Air for All Kentucky Children,” says thousands of babies and children across the Commonwealth are subject to immense dangers from secondhand smoke, particularly in communities without a strong smoke-free policy. About 69 percent of Kentucky’s children live in a community that does not protect all children and pregnant women from secondhand tobacco smoke in workplaces and other enclosed public places.

More than 28,000 babies were born in 2013 in Kentucky counties without strong smoke-free policies, putting them at risk of serious health complications. Pregnant women exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to have babies born with a low birth weight (less than 5.5 pounds), which increases the risks of developmental and intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, vision loss, hearing loss, and much more.

Kentucky’s rate of low-weight newborns is among the worst in the nation, ranking 39th out of 50. Also, more than 10,000 Kentucky babies (or more than one out of every five) are born to a mother who smoked during pregnancy – the highest rate in the nation.

To learn more, please click here. To download the full “Clearing the Air for All Kentucky Children” report, please click here.

The Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children is a coalition of non-profit, public, and private organizations that speaks with a common voice in order to have a better shot at making positive changes for Kentucky’s children. The Blueprint is led by Kentucky Youth Advocates (KYA) and supported by Kosair Charities, United Way of Greater Cincinnati, Metro United Way, PNC Foundation, and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. For more information, please go online to blueprintky.org or call 502-895-8167.