Florida Child Well-being Ranking Slips Three Spots According to Kids Count Report

Author: Helios Education Foundation

July 7, 2016

Florida’s overall child well-being rank slipped three spots from 37 to 40, according to the most recent Kids Count report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The annual report tracks state outcomes along four domains including Economic Well-being, Education, Health, and Family and Community.

Florida ranked 30 on the Education domain, tumbling three spots from the previous report. A comparison between current and Great Recession findings reveals both good and bad news.  For example, the percentage of fourth graders proficient in reading improved by five percent from 2007, and more high schoolers are graduating on time with a nine percent gain. At the same time, pre-kindergarten enrollment has slightly declined, and fewer eighth grade students scored at proficient levels in math compared to 2007.  

Florida’s performance on the Economic Well-being and Family and Community indicators is also a mixed bag. Compared to recession years, a larger percentage of Florida teens are in school or working and more children have a parent possessing a high school diploma. At the same time, almost one out of four children now lives below the poverty line and one-third of children have a parent lacking secure employment. In 2010-2014, 15 percent of children lived in high-poverty areas, up seven percent from 2006-2010.

Notably, Florida’s fell nine spots on the Health domain and now ranks among the worst in the nation at spot 47. Even though Florida has improved across all health indicators from 2007-2008, (e.g., children without health insurance), its performance still lags behind the relative progress of other states. 

“The data provided by Kids Count is valuable for Helios as we work to understand the needs of children in our three targeted areas in Florida – Tampa, Miami and Orlando,” said Dr. Karen Ortiz, Vice President, Early Grade Success Initiatives.  “While Florida has made great strides toward ensuring opportunities for children, there is still much work to do and this report shines a light on some areas that need improvement.”  

Helios Education Foundation uses Kids Count data to inform policy and improve educational programs. Information across multiple domains and indicators provides targeted feedback about the gains Florida has made and its areas of need. Putting data into practice helps to ensure that Florida students are ready for the demands of the future and are prepared for success across the education continuum.

Data from the Kids Count repot are taken from the U.S. Census, U.S. Department of Education, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. To read the full report, click here.

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