Alabama Ranks 48th in Child Wellness Report

The alarm has sounded for Alabama children. "Other states are doing more," says Kristen Bailey with Voices, the group that helped put out the report.

Bailey is challenging state leaders to invest as much in our children as they have in economic development.  She says, "The reality is it is going to be our children in Alabama who will run those industries."

Bailey says Alabama is falling behind. The state's overall ranking dropped from 43rd in 2006 to 48th in 2007. The areas that grew worse include: the percent of low-birth babies, the child and teen death rates, the number of children living in poverty and the percent living in single parent families.  "Needless to say,it was a disappointment," says Tom Miller with the Department of Public Health.

Miller says funding is part of the answer. He says, "There are so many demands on limited dollars."

The news isn't all bad. The school drop-out and teen pregnancy rates declined. But Miller says, "There's always more to be done."

Miller and Bailey say the state should consider this report is a wake-up call. "We've got to look at these areas and decide where our priorities are," says Bailey.

West Virginia and New Mexico are the only states in the bottom ten that are not southern states. Falling behind Alabama was Louisiana at 49th and Mississippi at 50th. Authorities hope Alabama's industrial growth will improve child well being in our state, but say it has to start with community and state programs.   You can take a closer look at this year's "Kid's Count data book" and specifics on kids in Alabama  at