Danedri Thompson
There was good news and bad news for Kansas kids in 2012, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation 2012 Kids Count Data Book.
Overall, Kansas ranks 16th, but the state received low marks in one important indicator. The state ranks in the bottom of states, 30th, for the number of Kansas children without health insurance.
According to the data book, 60,000 Kansas children do not have health insurance. The survey noted efforts to increase child enrollment in Healthwave, the state’s Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program, but CEO of Kansas Action for Children, Shannon Cotsoradis, said there’s still work to do.
“Approximately 70 percent of these uninsured children qualify for HealthWave,” she said. “As HealthWave becomes KanCare, it’s essential that we not only enroll more eligible children but also maintain coverage for current beneficiaries during the transition so the problem doesn’t become worse.”
In addition to low health care indicators, Kansas also scored low in some education indicators. For example, approximately 53 percent of Kansas 3 and 4 year olds are not enrolled in preschool, giving Kansas a rank of 22. Additionally, 64 percent of Kansas fourth graders read below proficiency.
Kansas scored in the top half of states for teens graduating for high school, however. Kansas ranked 15th with 80 percent of its teens earning high school diplomas.
The annual data book ranks 16 indicators of well-being in four areas including health, economic well-being, family and community indicators.
Kansas scored in the top half of states overall boasting a rank of eighth in the economic well-bring of its children; 12th in education indicators; 24th in family and community indicators, which includes data about the number of children in single-parent households and the number of teen births; and 32nd in health.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation, which annually produces a Kids Count Data Book, is a private national philanthropy that creates better futures for the nation’s children by strengthening families, building economic opportunities and transforming neighborhoods into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow.
In the fall, the Kansas Action for Children will release a report that compares child well-being at the county level.