Kentucky’s ‘Kids Count’ data released statewide

How are children faring in your county? Where does your county rank on overall child well-being? What has happened in the last 25 years in Kentucky to help kids succeed?

Answers to these questions can be found in the 2015 Kentucky KIDS COUNT County Data Book released today by Kentucky Youth Advocates. This is the 25th edition of the County Data Book.

The 2015 County Data Book ranks all Kentucky counties on overall child well-being based on 16 indicators which relate to economic security, education, health, and family and community strength. It is important to note that some indicators included in the 2015 rankings are different than those included in the 2014 County Data Book. Therefore, current rankings should not be compared to last year’s rankings.

The book’s foreword by Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, touts a number of gains for kids in the last 25 years since the release of the first County Data Book and highlights what needs to change to help children fare better in the next 25 years.

“Governors and the Kentucky General Assembly made significant strides in policies to help kids over the last quarter century, such as the Kentucky Education Reform Act, juvenile justice reform, and ensuring more children have health insurance,” said Dr. Brooks. “But we still face dire challenges. With more than one in four Kentucky children living in poverty; almost half of fourth graders not proficient in reading; and more than one in five mothers smoking during pregnancy, we have a long way to go to get Kentucky where it needs to be for children.”

The counties with the highest overall child well-being rankings include (in order) Oldham, Boone, Spencer, Edmonson, and Calloway Counties. Owsley, Wolfe, Martin, Breathitt, and Clay Counties have the most room for improvement, scoring at the bottom of the list.

The book includes county level data on all 16 data points used to calculate the overall child well-being rankings. Several solutions exist to move these numbers in the right direction.

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