The annual KidsCount report is out. It provides county-by-county data on the health and wellbeing of Missouri’schildren.
While child abuseand neglect cases in Missouriare down from last year, high school dropout rates are higher.
The Kids Countreport compares information and statistical trends on the conditions of ourstate’s children and families in all 114 counties and the City of Saint Louis.
St. Charles County,just outside of St. Louis,did the best this year. Not the case just a few miles away. St. Louis City scored lowest "across the board," says Scott Gee, director of Citizens for Missouri’sChildren. He says the areas that ranked the lowest are also the state’spoorest.
However, St. Louis did improve its numbers in all categories — save high school dropout rates — over last year.
The report breaksdown the rates for infant mortality, low birth weight, teen pregnancy, students on free or reduced lunches, babies born to mothers without a high school diploma, child deaths, children removed from homes, and violent deaths to teens.
The study also provides a breakout for various economic factors, demographics, family support systems, health and mental health.
For example, St. Louis had 1,226 high school dropouts, or 11.6 percent. St. Charles County had 449 dropouts, or 2.8 percent.
The report states that every day in Missouri:
18 babies are born with a low birth weight
41 children are born to mothers who lack high school diplomas
2 babies die before their ?rst birthday
15 children are removed from their homes
127 children receive attention from the Mo. Department of Social Services
due to reports of child abuse and neglect
1 child or teen dies
29 teens drop out of school
25 teens between the ages of 15 and 19 give birth
212,369 children live in poverty
Gee says the reportserves local and state policymakers, as well as not-for-profits at the locallevel in identifying needs and boosting certain programs.
To see how your county ranks and individual breakdowns, visit the Citizens for Missouri’s Children Web site.