Politics & Government

Report ranks Kentucky 34th in child well-being, up from 35th last year

A report ranking Kentucky 34th in the nation in child well-being offers a mixed view of how children's lives are changing in the state.

"This year's report more than most reminds us ... that we have both opportunities and obligations," said Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates.

The 2013 Kids Count Data Book, released Monday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, shows that Kentucky improved in 11 of 16 categories measuring the well-being of the state's children. Last year, Kentucky ranked 35th overall.

There are many promising numbers, Brooks said, but others are frightening.

"It really presents a very mixed reading on kids in Kentucky," he said.

Kids Count ranks states in four categories: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. Each category includes four indicators that look at specific trends.

The state's weakest showing was in economic well-being, where three of four measurements worsened. For example, 27 percent of Kentucky children lived in poverty in 2011, up from the pre-recession figure of 22 percent in 2005.

Until the economic woes of Kentucky kids can be solved, Brooks said, "the overall trend line for children is pessimistic."