Colorado ranked 25th by Kids Count in annual report on child well-being

Colorado is the 25th-best state to raise children, according to a national study released Wednesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The annual Kids Count report ranks states based on child health, safety, education and economic factors using one- to four-year-old data. A state Kids County report with some of the same data arranged by county is released each March by the Colorado Children’s Campaign.

Colorado ranked 20th last year.  But the drop of five spots didn’t alarm Lisa Piscopo, vice president of research for the Colorado Children’s Campaign.

“It falls within our average since 2002,” she said.

The 2011 report found Colorado children were not immune to economic woes that affected communities across the nation. Colorado was among seven states where 4 percent of children endured a foreclosure situation between 2007 and 2009. Only six states had a higher rate.

Eleven percent of Colorado children had at least one unemployed parent in 2010, a higher rate than 35 other states.

Impoverished students in the state increased 17 percent in 2009 compared to 2008, and the number of children living in a family where neither parent had year-round, full-time employment increased 16 percent.

The rankings help nonprofit child-advocacy groups such as the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Colorado Children’s Campaign inform people who are in charge of policy decisions regarding children. Piscopo said the national data are more expansive than the state guide and helps the organization better demonstrate how the recession has impacted Colorado’s children.

“I think it’s surprising how we rank against other states” in foreclosure and unemployment, Piscopo said. “If kids are worried or displaced from their homes, that’s quite impacting on student achievement.”

The Kids Count report contained some good news about student achievement. Colorado placed in the top 10 for percentage of fourth-graders proficient or better in math in 2009 and in the top five for percentage of fourth-graders proficient or advanced in reading.


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