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.