YUMA, Ariz. – An annual study that looks at state trends in child well being is out for 2015, and Arizona did not do so well, ranking near the bottom at 46th. The Kids Count Data Book is published by a private philanthropy and reviews key factors to a child’s welfare.
Joshua Oehler with Children’s Action Alliance researches Arizona’s child conditions. He explained how the state could improve.
“The main area that we’re worried about is the children in poverty. That’s one of the few indicators where we actually did worse. The negative effects of poverty are well documented for kids, and it’s hard to reverse those,” he said.
More than a quarter of kids in the Grand Canyon State live in poverty.
The study also reported a startlingly low number of children who attend preschool. Experts said pre-k is critical to a person’s educational success.
“They have higher graduation rates. They are more likely to go to college, to get higher paying jobs, less likely to end up in jails or prisons over time,” said Kelley Murphy, Director of Early Childhood Policy for Children Action Alliance.
Even with the low rank, it is not all bad news for Arizona’s children. There has been a steady decline in teen pregnancies and teen alcohol and drug abuse.
The study also reviewed child health trends. Arizona is the only state that does not have a child’s health insurance program.
California did not do so well either, ranking 38th in overall child welfare.