Ala. Kids Count Data Book released - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Ala. Kids Count Data Book released

Montgomery, AL - The 2009 Alabama Kids Count Data Book, which profiles child well-being in each of the 67 counties, was released Thursday. The book, put together by VOICES for Alabama's Children is the most comprehensive source of information reporting about the health, safety, education and economic security of all Alabama children.

You can view all the information at www.alavoices.org.

"The county-by-county information in this book highlights the need for state and local community leaders to invest in policies and programs that impact the lives of children and families throughout Alabama," said Melanie Bridgeforth, Policy Analyst and Kids Count Director. "The data shows that children's issues are more than individual family issues, and will have lasting effects on the entire state."

The Data Book documents significant improvement in four indicators over the last decade, including births to unmarried teens, first grade retention, child death rate and the frequency of vulnerable families, defined as first births to unmarried teenage mothers not finishing high school.

The 2009 Alabama Kids Count Data Book also reveals that only two indicators, low weight births and child birth index, defined as birth-related characteristics that can negatively impact the formative years of a child's life, have worsened over the last 10 years.

"The Alabama Kids Count Data Book continues to be an important resource for leaders and communities around the state," said executive director Linda Tilly. "As VOICES tracks and reports the indicators affecting Alabama children, communities have an opportunity to become informed of the well-being of children and to work toward moving Alabama forward."

This year, VOICES has added new features to highlight issues affecting Alabama's children and provide a more in-depth look at what's going right in our state.

-Guest Contributor - Alma J. Powell, Board Chair of America's Promise Alliance - An engaging composition on the national and statewide dropout epidemic, national goals and Alabama's current efforts to combat the issue from one of the nation's leading child advocates.

-A Spotlight on Progress - An in-depth look at one county's efforts to improve child well-being.

-Supplementary Data - In addition to reporting on key indicators by county, this year's Data Book reports on additional data sets to provide an even broader analysis on the status of Alabama children.

-Redesigned, Interactive KIDS COUNT Data Center - Formerly known as the Community-Level Information on Kids (CLIKS) site, the new KIDS COUNT Data Center, created by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, reports data for states, cities, counties and school districts. Through the interactive tools and innovative program software, users are able to easily compare data across states as well as customize search profiles. Visit the KIDS COUNT Data Center at datacenter.kidscount.org.

This is the 17th annual publication of the Alabama Kids Count Data Book.

VOICES for Alabama's Children is a statewide non-profit that works to ensure the well-being of Alabama's children through research, public awareness and advocacy.

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