Despite steady improvements in child well-being since the early '90s, Nevada continues to lag behind the rest of the nation in child health, education, economics and family and community life. That's according to the newest Kids Count report released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
KUNR's Paul Boger spoke with Aaliyah Goodie, a data analyst with the Children Advocacy Alliance in Las Vegas to talk about the report and what the state can do to improve in the future.
“Interestingly enough, [Nevada] did do better than last year, because last year in the 2018 Kids Count data book, education was ranked at 49th,” Goodie says. “We were basically second-to-last in the nation in education. A lot of it, and specifically something we focus on as an organization, is we make sure that young children between the ages of three and four are either in Pre-K or Headstart... I know specifically this year, that 64% of children ages three and four are not in school.”
Despite the low score, Goodie says the report is not all negative. She says the state has made real progress, but so have other states.
“I know that -- especially in this state -- we talk a lot about doom and gloom because we're not always doing so great,” Goddie continues, “but I believe we are trying to [take] steps and make progress in improving our child well being. So it's not to say that as a state we're not doing anything. That's definitely not the case. I believe there are so many passionate people in our communities and organizations really fighting to make sure that our children have a chance to grow up and be healthy and have good well-being and do well in school. However, we also have to consider the fact that while we're improving other states improve at the same time.”
Goodie says one way the state can help improve child well-being is by ensuring that every child is counted during the 2020 census. “We talk a lot of in the state right now about the census that's about to come up,” she says.
“The census is very important because [it's] how we get that funding for a lot of different child programs, but we also know that children are being missed. So I would say the short term goal is continuously working to make sure that we can count all of our children in the state to make sure they were not missing out on funding that's essentially going to help our children.”
As a note of disclosure, the Annie E. Casey Foundation provides financial support to NPR.