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Kids Count Report Ranks Missouri 29th in Child Well-Being

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Kids Count study, compiled by the Annie E. Casey foundation, was released Tuesday. Missouri rose in the ranks, where a lower score is better.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Kids Count study, compiled by the Annie E. Casey foundation, was released Tuesday.  Missouri rose in the ranks, where a lower score is better.

When Missouri educators and non-profits are competing for federal dollars and grant money with other states, knowing how the children in the state are faring is vital.

Missouri saw improvements in education and health, but the foundation of child welfare in the state, economic well-being, was shaken. These numbers are based on data from 2012.

Missouri's rank on the overall child well-being index came in at 29th, that's down from 27th in 2013, 26th in 2012 on a scale where a lower rank is better.

While our neighbors to the north came in with higher rankings than we did, to the south those states ranked lower. 

Economic well-being is where Missouri children were hit hardest.

The Kids Count ranking estimates about 23 percent of Missouri's children live in poverty a problem that is worse since the last report.  Also worse, children whose parents lack secure employment in at 31 percent, that is 433,000 children.

"A child whose parents are lacking secure employment, you know, that may be someone who is job hoping or it could be someone who had an okay job that maybe due to the economic crisis in the US maybe they lost their job a few years ago and then maybe they were never able to regain that job status at a new job," says Community Partnership of the Ozarks Will Carter. 

Children living in a household with a high housing cost burden are up to 31 percent.

"So high housing costs being a burden is definitely something that impacts kids and families because...if you go from a higher paying job to a lower paying job that doesn't mean that your rent is going down and it doesn't mean your mortgage is going down," says Carter. "So now that family that was able to pay for that is now struggling, maybe paycheck to paycheck which doesn't leave a lot of money left over to take care of the children, by food, take care of the prescriptions and medical costs and things like that because there money is going to pay the rent. A lot of time people will choose paying the rent over their medical needs or their health care needs." 

Carter says economic factors like this sometimes push families to the brink.

"And suddenly you have no money left over for your normal day to day stuff at the end of the month." Carter says
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