Study: Michigan ranks in bottom half of nation on child welfare measures

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    A national study of child welfare shows that in most categories, Michigan ranks in the bottom half of the nation with regard to issues like child poverty, education and community well-being.

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    Michigan ranks 30th in the nation in child “economic well-being,” 37th in education and 29th in the “family and community domain,” which refers to “children living in high-poverty neighborhoods,” according to the 2019 Kids Count report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

    One area in which the state has performed well, however, is child health, with Michigan ranking 18th in the nation.

    Alicia Guevara Warren of the nonpartisan Michigan League for Public Policy, which produced a Michigan-focused version of the report in April, said that the state’s lagging child welfare indicators are a call to action.

    “Thankfully, many of the struggles facing Michigan kids in 1990 have improved significantly,” Warren said. “But it is deplorable that amidst all that progress, policymakers have not moved the needle on child poverty over the last three decades.”

    New report shows state’s pre-K efforts failing to move the needle

    The MLPP’s report earlier this year showed that the state was struggling to meet its own education standards. The study also found that one-fifth of Michigan’s children live below the federal poverty line or in families that are “struggling to make ends meet.”

    The national report shows that Michigan is one of 12 states whose child population has decreased since 1990, when the Kids Count project was launched.

    It also notes that by most counts child welfare has improved across the country, although some issues, like racial inequity and poverty, continue to persist. New Hampshire ranks first in the nation on child welfare overall, with New Mexico coming in last.

    Derek Robertson
    Derek Robertson is a former associate editor of the Advance. Previously, he wrote for Politico Magazine in Washington. He is a Genesee County native and graduate of both Wayne State University, where he studied history, and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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