Governor Mike DeWine and First Lady Fran DeWine spent Tuesday afternoon celebrating Ohio’s use of free children’s book service Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which is close to 50% participation by children from infants to age five.
But the shadow of dismal child health and school absenteeism still hangs over the state, according to a new study.
A national analysis of everything from infant birth weight to high school graduation rates was released last week, and Ohio is worse in areas such as child and teen deaths, economically disadvantaged students and overweight babies. birth low.
The state was ranked 33rd in the country for “family and community” indicators, 32nd in health, 28th in education and 27th in children’s economic well-being, ranking 31st- of generally in the national data profile.
Chronic absence showed a dramatic increase, going from 7.5% in 2019-2020 to 24% in 2020-2021. Interim State Superintendent of Public Instruction Stephanie Siddens, previously warned about this problem as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted in-person tuition across the state.
The state did not improve in fourth-grade proficiency over the past decade, remaining at 64% of grade-level students registering as not proficient. More than half of Ohio’s eighth graders are not proficient in math, although the rate went from 64% in 2009 to 62% in 2019.
The Kids Count project came from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and includes annual state breakdowns for child welfare to “spark discussions on data-driven solutions to improve child outcomes.”
The Ohio Children’s Defense Fund broke down the data even further, applying child census numbers to counties and districts.
“There are still many uncertainties and challenges ahead, but one thing is clear we must do our best to make sure they are properly cared for in the midst of this pandemic,” said Tracy Najera, country director for the Fund for Protection of Children. -Ohio.
The proportion of low birth weight babies increased from 8.3% in 2020 to 8.7% last year, with children enrolled in Medicaid only slightly improving, from 51.8% in 2020 to 51% in 2021, according to the CDF-O analysis.
Child census figures showed worse child and adolescent death rates, at 28 per 100,000 in 2020.
The number of students considered economically disadvantaged increased between 2019 and 2021, from 47.3% to 48.4% of students.
The state has seen some positive trends, with the child poverty rate falling from 18.1% in 2019 to 16.6% in 2020, and children receiving the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefiting from 29% to 25.7% between 2020 and 2021.
The overall high school graduation rate increased from 85.9% in the 2019-20 school year to 87.2% the following year, and out-of-school suspensions and expulsions went from 8.8 per 100 students in 2019-2020 to 2.8 in 2020-21 .
Teenage births to women aged 15 to 17 saw only a slight decline, from 6.8 per 1,000 teenage girls in 2020 to 6.2 in 2021.
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