New data shows how economic, health, and education indicators are affecting Kansas kids

TOPEKA, Kan (WIBW) -- Kansas Action for Children released data from their annual State Kids Count.

It takes a look at dozens of indicators that impact Kansas kids including childcare.

"Childcare is really hard to both find and afford for a lot of Kansas families, but particularly for low income families or families experiencing poverty,” Director of Policy and Research Emily Fetsch explained.

Fetsch said their data shows an even bigger problem in rural areas.

"There's a real lack of childcare centers in rural areas. And part of that is because you know there's less of a population right to serve,” she said.

The study also looks at the number of children still breastfeeding at six months. Fetsch said breastfeeding is shown to improve children’s health, but paid family leave can affect whether moms stick with it.

"We know that states that have past paid family leave laws actually seen an increase in breastfeeding because women are able to breastfeed longer because they are able to stay home with their newborns,” she explained.

As for poverty the Kids Count data shows more than 100,000 Kansas children under 18 are living in poverty.

"There has been a decline in childhood poverty over the last couple years. We are seeing a disproportionate decline in the number of children receiving SNAP, TANF, and Child Care Assistance,” Fetsch said.

Fetsch said they are worried families are not able to access many of these programs.

She said they will use the data to push for change.

Kansas Action for Children will be advocating in the upcoming legislative session.

A link to the full study can be found online here.