MS ranks low in 2015 Kids Count Data Book

MS ranks low in 2015 Kids Count Data Book

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - How can we improve the well-being of our children? Some information released Tuesday may help. Data on child well-being in our country was released by in the 2015 Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The data focuses on pivotal trends in child well-being in the post-recession years and measures child well-being in four areas- economic well-being, education, health and family and community.

According to the Data Book, more children in Mississippi are living in poverty than during the Great Recession.

The Magnolia state ranks last overall in child well-being. The data book states, more than one third of children in Mississippi are stranded in poverty up from 30 percent in 2008. On the other hand. The percentage of high school students not graduating on time has improved.

Kids Count Director Dr. Linda Southward said, "In order for Mississippi to move ahead we need to move faster on these indicators. We must address the issue of persistent childhood poverty. Because when families are poor due to unemployment or underemployment this can lead into a lack of educational positive outcomes as well."

Dr. Southward said investing in early child care and education programs would help improve Mississippi children's well-being. She also recommends investing in more Pre-K programs and conduct development screenings to find children who need more comprehensive assessment.

She said that will promote children being able and ready to learn. Communities can also be a big help.

"Studies show that a six week summer learning program can produce statistically significant gains in reading performance. And we know that low income students will lose, on average, more than two months in reading achievement in the summer while their middle income peers tend to make gains in reading," said Dr. Southward.

Dr. Southward said studies have shown that by the end of fifth grade disadvantaged children are nearly three grade equivalents behind their more affluent peers in reading. Therefore community support to make sure children have books in their homes and they are being read to is very important and will help in improving a child's well-being.

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