KIDS COUNT – a collaborative project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Kentucky Youth Advocates (KYA) – is a report card on child well-being that measures economic security, education, health, and family and community. The poverty rate in Fayette is lower than the state, and Fayette fares better on the issue of teens not in school or not working, smoking during pregnancy and teen births.
The education domain closely mirrors the state averages, though Fayette County’s achievement in 4th grade reading and 8th grade math actually are better than the state rates. Fayette County has a much higher rate of locking up juveniles than the rest of the state.
“Fayette County as a community has a real opportunity to improve the ways in which (it) applies more effective and less expensive approaches to kids when they have made a mistake,” said Kentucky Youth Advocates executive director Terry Brooks. “The other negative discrepancy is in out of home care; again, Fayette County leaders have a chance to improve the lives of children by exploring more effective and less expensive diversion programs – including kinship care – as a means to help kids when families enter a crisis.” Fayette County ranked 33rd among 120 counties taking into account 16 indicators of child well-being including economic security, education, health, and family and community. Woodford County ranked fifth, and Scott County ninth.
Kentucky Youth Advocates is asking that cuts be restored to child care and to a program that keeps children out of foster care with non-family members by providing funds to relatives.
The advocacy group is also asking the General Assembly to enact a state Earned Income Credit which allows low-income families to keep more of their own money, Brooks said.