Kansas youth ranked 10th least at risk nationwide

Published: Jul. 22, 2018 at 2:06 PM CDT
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Kansas is ranked as having one of the least at-risk youth populations in the country in a recent survey

What does that really mean? We break down the numbers and find out why young people ages 18 to 24 in Kansas are seeing success.

"The way I see that is these 18 to 24 year olds are doing well because of a result of investments that were made years earlier in their lives by way of policies at the state and local levels,” John Wilson, Vice President of Advocacy for Kansas Action for Children, said.

The new nationwide study put out by Wallet Hub shows Kansas is number ten for having the least at risk youth population for ages 18 to 24. Meaning we're doing better than the majority of other states based on 14 different indicators of well-being.

So what is Kansas doing right?

Local high school teacher and mom Blanche Wulfekoetter says Kansas has long been a great place to raise your kids.

"Communities take to heart the raising of their young people," Wulfekoetter said. "I think you see that like in the Topeka community they have summer programs that feed kids, our state has taken social emotional wellness to a new level and implemented social emotional pieces into our curriculum for public education, I think Kansas cares about kids."

Wilson credits the policy changes made in the late 90's for some of the good rankings now.

"We saw good investments in education, we saw stronger access to social supports for families and kids, we saw an economy that was probably doing a little bit better,” Wilson said. “Since then obviously we've seen a great recession and we've then seen policy changes at the state level here in Kansas that might make it harder for kids to have that same level of success."

So while Kansas is seeing success for keeping young adults away from the at-risk dangers now, Wilson is concerned about newer policy changes that haven't kicked in yet.

“It's really critical that we look at all the policies that shape kids really early on in their lives, so that 16 to 18 years from now we're still celebrating great results for youth,” Wilson said.

Kansas Action for Children will be releasing their latest data this fall on kids well-being. It'll be broken down into race and economic standing categories. That'll give the experts a better understanding of what's working or what may not be working in Kansas.

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