TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas kids are doing better than children in most other states, according to new numbers out.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation's annual KIDS COUNT data book, gives a glimpse of how children are doing in each state based on 16 factors like health, education, economic well-being, and family and community.
This year, Kansas ranked 13th nationwide for child well-being.
"We've actually moved up a few spots, and in comparison to neighboring states we are actually doing quite well, we rank better than Colorado, we rank better than Oklahoma, and Missouri. Nebraska still ranks a little higher than us, but we should be really proud of that,” John Wilson, Vice President of Advocacy for Kansas Action for Children, said.
According to the report, compared to 2010, the number of Kansas children in poverty dropped from 18 to 14 percent. Parents lacking secure employment declined from 27 to 20 percent, and the number of children without health insurance went from eight percent to four percent.
"I think it's a result of hard work of everybody because kids don't just need one thing in their lives to be healthy they need lots of support.” Wilson said. “I think our ranking reflects what educators, and lawmakers, and advocates, and just everyday Kansans are doing to support kids."
Governor Jeff Colyer also applauded the improvements, saying:
“These aren’t just numbers, these are actual children that have been helped and I am glad to see the policies we have in place are having such a positive impact on vulnerable families.”
Unfortunately the survey wasn't all positive. The survey found that the infant mortality rate is nearly three times higher among black babies than it is white babies, which Wilson said is incredibly alarming.
They’ve also found that insurance rates among Hispanic and black children are lower than with white children.
The Governor’s Office said it is working with the Department for Children and Families to address these concerns. They're implementing cultural awareness training for child welfare staff, and held a forum in April to focus on the well-being of children and families.
Wilson believes now is the time to use this data for change.
"Now it's important to turn that data into policy actions, whether that's policy at the state level where the legislature when they come back in January can continue to do good work, or even at the state level, or county level cities and counties can do their part to support young children,” Wilson said.
Compared to neighboring states Oklahoma ranked 44th, Missouri ranked 26th, Colorado 20th, and Nebraska came in just ahead of us ranking 9th.
To check out the full 2018 KIDS COUNT Data book just click