The number of children in North Carolina living in poverty has increased by 25 percent since 2008, according to a new report released yesterday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The Casey Foundation’s Kids Count® Data Bookuses data from the U.S. Census, Department of Education and other federal agencies to measure a series of indicators linked to children’s long-term success. Our state ranks 35th in the country for children’s overall well-being, a measure that includes rankings for education, economic well-being, health and family/community.
While the report is rather grim, North Carolina did make moderate gains in nine of the report’s 16 indicators, including higher reading and math proficiency rates, lower teen drug abuse rates and significantly lower rates of uninsured children. However, the report paints a big picture of a state where many children and families have been left behind in the economic recovery of the past several years.
But this is not a reason to throw up our hands and cry defeat, because we know that high-quality early childhood programs have a profound impact on children and their communities. Investing in early childhood programs that promote good health, strong families and high quality early learning environments is the most effective way to allow all children to realize their potential and grow up to be productive adults who can give back and strengthen our communities. Everybody wins when children have the early experiences that they need in order to thrive.
The opportunity to make the most powerful changes lies in early childhood, and this report shows that we still have a lot of work ahead of us. Please continue to be a voice for young children in Durham and across the state. Click here to sign up for our advocacy e-alerts, get more involved in our legislative efforts, and find out how you can be a champion for young children in Durham!
Click here to download North Carolina’s full 2015 Kids Count profile.