South Carolina was one of five states to show improvement for children’s well-being, moving from number 45 last year to 42 this year in the country according to the annual Kids Count Survey released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The KIDS COUNT Data Book released the latest data on child well-being for every state, the District of Columbia, and the nation.
A press release states improvement in child health, reduction in child and teen deaths, and increased access to health insurance contributed to South Carolina’s three-point climb.
Children’s Trust Chief Executive Officer Sue Williams says access to health care and substance abuse prevention are paying off.
She said, “We’ve demonstrated that we can make forward progress, and we can put money towards these programs that are being effective and we can do more of them and reach more kids, and maybe we will get into the 30’s or the 20’s and our kids will be more of the national average instead of being at the bottom.”
South Carolina’s children continue to struggle in key areas of education and economic well-being. The release says:
- 59% are not attending preschool;
- 72% of fourth graders are not proficient in reading;
- 69% of eighth graders are not proficient in math; and
- 27% of children live in poverty.
In addition, only 13% of African-American children are reading proficiently by fourth grade and have math proficiency by eighth grade.