Report: Livingston County tops in state for child well-being

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The 2019 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book, released today by the Michigan League for Public Policy, ranks Livingston County top in Michigan for child well-being.

The top five counties for child well-being in 2019 are:

1. Livingston

2/3 (tie): Clinton and Washtenaw

4: Ottawa

5. Oakland

The bottom five counties in 2019 are:

78. Manistee

79. Muskegon

80. Luce

81. Alcona

82. Lake

Now in its 27th year, the annual Kids Count in Michigan data book analyzes and evaluates the well-being of children in the state and its communities, and identifies policy recommendations to improve outcomes for kids. The 2019 book primarily compares data from 2012 to 2017 and analyzes 16 key indicators across four domains: Economic Security, Health & Safety, Family & Community, and Education.

The 2019 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book also analyzes and ranks 82 of the 83 counties for overall child well-being (Keweenaw County lacks sufficient data). The overall child well-being rank is based on a county’s rank in 14 of the 16 measures; infant mortality and child and teen deaths are excluded as many counties do not have sufficient data on those two indicators.

Here is how Livingston County ranked in each Kids Count in Michigan child well-being indicator:

Comparing counties from 2012 to 2017, 79 counties saw an improvement in their child poverty rate. Sixty-three counties saw a worsening trend in the share of births to mothers receiving adequate prenatal care, but 76 counties saw a reduction in their teen birth rate. The rate of child victims of abuse and neglect increased in 62 counties, and 76 counties experienced an increase in children placed in out-of-home care due to abuse or neglect. In Education, the rate of students not graduating on time improved in 58 counties, however, communities are still struggling to support third-grade reading with 65 counties seeing a decline in proficiency.

“The Kids Count data book has been working to draw attention to pervasive child poverty for years, as 1 in 5 kids is still unacceptable, and it’s even higher for kids of color. Plus, the alarming increase in child abuse and neglect underscores the urgency of the issues facing our kids,” said Alicia Guevara Warren, Kids Count in Michigan project director. “A family’s lack of economic security affects a child’s well-being in many ways, and we can address these challenges early and holistically, as the book contains concrete recommendations for policymakers to better support kids and families.”

The databook continues to connect its data findings with policy recommendations to improve child well-being, including raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction from 17- to 18-years-old; strengthening policies that support work, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); and expanding home visitation programs to help provide additional support to families. Many of these policy improvements were included in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s state budget. A summary of the 2019 book’s key data findings and policy recommendations can be found here.

In order to make this year’s data book as bright and vibrant as Michigan’s kids, Kids Count and the Michigan League for Public Policy asked children from around the state to submit artwork to show “what it’s like to be a kid in Michigan.” Nearly 100 entries were submitted and many are featured throughout the book.

For additional information on the 2019 Kids Count in Michigan Data Book, including the full report, state, county and regional rankings, charts and images, resources for advocates, and county-specific profiles and press releases for 82 counties, go to https://mlpp.org/kids-count/michigan-2019-data-book.

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About The Livingston Post 1175 Articles
The Livingston Post is the only locally owned, all-digital information and opinion site in Livingston County, Mich. It was launched by award-winning journalists who were laid off from the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus by Gannett Co. Inc. in 2009.

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