Oklahoma is Not OK for Kids

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As the long-time editor of a parenting publication, my inbox is filled every day with statistics and information, both good and bad, about children and families. Today, I had an email from The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy giving statistics on the welfare of children in Oklahoma. Sadly, our state is not so great if you’re a child.

The information is contained in the 25th Edition of THE KIDS COUNT Data Book (kidscount.org), and was released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Every year, Kids Count looks at 16 key indicators in order to assess how well children are faring in each state. Areas that are covered include: Economic Well-Being, Health, Education and Family and Community.

Oklahoma ranks 39th among 50 states. We dropped from 36th, so the state is not headed in the right direction when it comes to kids. According to Kids Count, this is “one of the largest declines in the U.S.”

Oklahoma has more children living in poverty, more teens not in school and not working and more parents lacking secure employment. “There is still little sign of improvement for many children in the state,” the report says.

Bright spots include improved preschool attendance and high school graduation. There were also “drops in child and teen mortality, teen substance abuse, and the percentage of children without health insurance.” While it’s great to see improvement, the report goes on to say that Oklahoma isn’t doing that well compared with other states in health and education. Even with the slight improvement, we still rank 41st.

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Living the empty nest life, and loving it.

About This Blog

Betty Casey has been editor of TulsaKids for over 20 years – her youngest child was 3-years-old when she started working for the magazine. She and her husband Wes have three young adult children. Betty’s blog ranges from writing about current issues or information of interest to local parents, reflecting on her life without kids at home, and posting a few recipes now and then. (Cooking and running are two or her favorite past-times.) Betty is the author/illustrator of three children’s books, "May Finds Her Way," "That is a Hat" and "The Prince of the Prairie" (The RoadRunner Press). She was named Blogger of the Year in 2014 by The Great Plains Journalism Awards, was a finalist in 2015 and won again in 2016. Most recently, she was named the 2017 News Blogger of the Year. She has also won numerous writing awards from the Parenting Media Association.

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