Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

Washington ranks 14th in child well-being – there is room for improvement

By meerna Jun12,2024

(courtesy of Pexels)

A new report on child well-being ranks Washington state 14th. The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s annual Kids Count Data Book measures how well states support children and families in four categories: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community.

Dr. Stephan Blanford, executive director of Seattle-based Children’s Alliance, said the state continues to grapple with a child care crisis that leaves low-income children without access to quality care, if they have access to it at all .

“As an education researcher and former school board director here in Seattle, I know that their chances of doing well in K-12 are very limited if they do not have access to high-quality child care in the early years of life,” he said. he said.

Blanford noted that the state also has a high rate of people suffering from depression and anxiety. Washington ranked lowest in economic well-being (28th), due in part to more than 500,000 children living in households with high housing costs. The state ranked highest for health, at No. 4.

Like other states across the country, Washington has struggled with education issues in the wake of the pandemic.

Leslie Boissiere, executive director of the Casey Foundation, said the pandemic is not the sole cause of declining educational outcomes. He says this problem has been going on for a long time.

“For example, the pandemic erased decades of gains in math scores. However, if we look at the 35 years that we have been producing the Data Book, we have never seen a significant percentage of children who were proficient in fourth board reading or basic math,” she said.

Boissiere also noted that $190 billion in federal pandemic funding in emergency aid for K-12 schools could help boost achievement. He says the deadline for states to allocate these funds is September 30.

“There are still tens of billions in ESSER pandemic funds that have been allocated to schools to provide resources for things like high-dose tutoring and other resources that can support children that have not been spent,” Boissiere said.

—Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service

By meerna

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