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Kid's data leaves some questions; Stewy's kidney donor surgery goes wellPosted Friday, July 31, 2009, at 5:20 PM
Our kids ought to count and be of our highest concern.
But apparently that is not the case.
A recent national survey places Indiana 31st among states when it comes to the overall well-being of children.
That's three spots better than the previous year's survey -- but is it enough?
The 2009 Kids Count report, released this week by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, offers up plenty of state-wide and county data ranging from infant mortality to children in single-parent homes.
Tiny New Hampshire ranked first in the latest survey.
Some of the data available for Greene County is alarming.
The teen birthrate per 1,000 females (ages 15-17) more than doubled from 2005 to 2006 (the most recent year data was available in that category) going from 10.1 to 26.2.
For Indiana, the rate was 20.8.
The number of non-marital births fell slightly in the county from 35 percent in 2005 to 34.7 percent in 2006.
The number of babies born in Greene County to single mothers under the age of 20 without a high school diploma also increased from 21 (2005) to 28 (2006).
The number of Greene County mothers who reported smoking during pregnancy dropped from 27.4 percent to 23.7 percent -- still way too high when there is substantiated evidence that smoking is bad for your health and the health of a newborn.
The number of low birth weight babies has showed some improvement over a five-span (2002 to 2006) going from 7.8 percent to 6.9 percent after topping at 11.3 percent in 2005.
There were 3,193 Greene County children were enrolled in the Hoosier Healthwise state insurance program in 2008 -- down from 3,316 in 2007.
Greene County children qualifying for free school lunches continued an upward trend, reaching 31.3 percent in 2009.
Rates of child abuse and neglect cases in the county continued a five-year slide in 2008 with 10.8 per 1,000 children under the age of 18. That's compared to 30.9 in 2004 and 24.5 in 2005.
The number of substantiated child-neglect cases by Child Protective Services dropped from 94 in 2006 to 82 in 2007. The number of child sexual abuse cases declined from 35 to 26 (2006 to 2007). Physical abuse cases dropped from 15 to 12.
However, the number of child abuse emergency shelters more than doubled from 7 to 16 (2007 to 2008) in the county.
The number of juvenile delinquency cases decreased from 90 in 2007 to 70 in 2008 while four local juveniles (2008) were committed to the Indiana Department of Correction -- down from 11 in 2007.
The report shows an average of 24 of every 100,000 Indiana children ages 1 to 14 died during 2006. Indiana's rate was about a quarter higher than the national average of 19 deaths per 100,000 children.
Greene County had no child deaths reported in 2006.
Other interesting points from the Kids Count data:
In Greene County:
Children in poverty improved slightly in 2007 over 2006, 19 percent compared to 22.4 percent. It was 15.6 percent in 2003.
Percent of graduates passing the graduate qualifying exam dropped to 93.5 percent in 2007, compared to 97.6 percent in 2006.
The number of high school graduates were up with 341 in 2007 compared to 332 in 2006.
The number of dropouts decreased from 80 in 2006 to 35 in 2007.
Public school enrollment dropped from 5,641 in 2007 to 5,558 in 2008 and there were 266 students listed as home-schooled in 2008 -- continuing a five-year growth trend. A total of 184 were home schooled in 2004.
The numbers are a mixed bag.
We as a county have made progress in several areas, but overall the data is a bit disturbing. We need to do more as a community to make sure our youngsters are our most prized and protected possessions.
There's a lot more state and county data available at www.kidscount.org .
STEWY UPDATE: Kidney transplant surgery was successfully performed Friday morning at Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis from Bloomfield native Jonathan "Stewy" Stewart to Kristine Marcoux, a 30-year old married mother of a two-year-old daughter.
A friend of the family reports that both surgeries were completed shortly after noon.
I received a call from Stewy about 5:20 p.m. Friday and he said he was in 'pain' but was so happy everything went well with both his and Kristine's surgeries. Stewy said he appreciated all the prayers that went up on his behalf. He also very pleased he made the organ donation.
Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/wordmaster1953.
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