Editorial: Kids Count

Editorial Kids Count 6-12-08

One out of every four children in Alabama lives in poverty.

We must do better by our children.

We editorialized two years ago to make Alabama the best place in the country to raise a child.

The latest Kids Count survey has us better, but not that much. Only three states, rather than two, are worse.

We must do better.

We've made progress the past year and a half. Those numbers won't show up until next year.

We are in the top third in the nation for providing quality health care for children through our All Kids state children's health insurance program.

But we must do better at increasing access to prenatal health care for expectant mothers. More than one out of every ten babies are born here with low birth weight and nearly 10 infants die for every 1,000 live births - much higher than the 7 in every 1,000 nationally.

Expanding the pre-K program and the Alabama Reading Initiative will help us improve.

But we need to decrease the numbers of kids from families where no parent has a full-time job.

Addressing the poverty problem should be a focus. If we take that on successfully, we will be a state where our actions show that KIDS COUNT!