Annual report provides snapshot of Alabama's children

Linda Tilly discusses the release of Kids Count.
Linda Tilly discusses the release of Kids Count.

Posted by Bryan Henry  -  bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Voices for Alabama's Children has been documenting the overall health of Alabama's children since 1992, kids in all 76 counties, measuring trends such as health, education and economy vitality.

Some encouraging news this year. The child death rate is a little lower thanks to stronger car seat laws and fewer teenagers are dying on Alabama roads. One reason? While they're learning how to drive, the law prohibits them from carrying too many passengers, meaning less distractions.

Linda Tilly is the head of Voices for Alabama's Children.

"One trend I've seen is our young children seem to be doing better than our older children which is good news for the future," said Tilly.

One troubling bit of news coming out of the study. Right now only 62% of Alabama's high school students are graduating in a 4-year time frame compared to 65% 10 years ago.

Tilly thinks she's knows why.

"It's unfortunate that our children in high schools didn't have the Alabama Reading Initiative when they first started out," said Tilly.

The Voices for Alabama's Children is an advocacy group and Tilly says this information is typically given to state lawmakers and the business community with the hope of generating ideas to help young people make smarter choices and live healthier lives.

The annual report is usually published in the fall and all of the data according to Tilly is pulled from agencies such as the Alabama Department of Public Health, the Department of Education and the census.

Tilly says it's hard to gauge how Alabama's high school graduation rate ranks with other states because not all of the states keep a record of that.

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