By Nick Gosnell
October 25, 2016
Kansas Action for Children has released their 2016 KIDS COUNT Report.
“We saw progress in investments and concentrated efforts around infant mortality, as well as extending health care access to little kids,” said Kansas Action for Children Executive Director Annie McKay. “We saw gains in those areas. It really underscores what we’re capable of as a state when we put our minds to it.”
More pregnant women are receiving prenatal care, nearly 83 percent. As a result, the percentage of low-birth weight babies declined to just over 7 percent. Also enrollment of children in the state health insurance CHIP plan increased by over 2,000 kids since 2011. The infant mortality rate is also down to just 5.88 deaths per 1,000 live births.
“Unfortunately, we don’t see the same trends happening in other key areas as it relates to education and economic indicators,” said McKay. “We’ve got the tools and we know the policies to put forward in those domains. Hopefully, we can work with policymakers in 2017 to make greater gains in those areas.”
The biggest policy change that could be made in the next session is actually a restoration of previous policy, according to McKay.
“Restore funding to the Children’s Initiative program,” said McKay. “Put forward the full amount that comes into the state through tobacco settlement dollars and invest that in high quality early care and education programs throughout Kansas to make sure that little Kansas kids, our most vulnerable citizens, have the best start in life.”