SEATTLE, Wash. - Washington ranks 14th in the nation in the new Kids
Count report, slipping three places in a comparison by state of factors
that influence children's well-being: infant mortality, high school
dropout and teen pregnancy rates, numbers of families in poverty, and
more. This year, the economy has even affected the research - more 2008
data should be available by now, but budget cuts have made it more
difficult to gather.
By next year, another 60,000 children in Washington, whose families are
now just barely making it, month to month, will be at risk of slipping
into poverty. The Kids Count report says in 2007, one in three children
in the state had parents without stable employment - and that was
before the recession.
Lori Pfingst, assistant director with Washington Kids Count, says that, for families of color, the numbers are much higher.
"American Indian children, for example; 57 percent of them live in
families without stable employment. African-American children; almost
half of them are living in families without stable employment. So the
recession really is going to have a greater impact on children of
She says the situation is similar for Hispanic families.
'Stable' employment means one parent working at least 35 hours a week.
She says there are a few bright spots in the report, including the
lowest infant mortality rate in the nation and, since 2000, fewer child
deaths and fewer teen pregnancies.
"On all of those indicators, we are doing well. But I think it's
important to mention that child well-being, in general, is so linked to
their economic security that all of these indicators are under threat
right now, because children are suffering during this recession."
Pfingst adds that the Kids Count staff had a hard time getting updated
numbers this year, because the federal agencies doing the research have
undergone budget cuts.
The data will be online this morning at datacenter.kidscount.org