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Report: Maine In Top Quarter for Overall Child Well-Being


Thursday, June 25, 2020   

AUGUSTA, Maine -- A national report ranks Maine in the top quarter among states for overall child well-being.

The annual Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Book shows Maine faring fourth in the category of family and community indicators, including fewer children living in high-poverty areas.

Helen Hemminger, research associate for Kids Count at the Maine Children's Alliance, said the state also has a lower teen birth rate.

"I think that's an area, New England and Maine, [that] has been good about access to birth control over time. And I think that shows in that measure," said Hemminger.

But Maine lags behind in other categories, such as education.

This report uses data from 2018, based on the latest available information. The Casey Foundation plans to publish an update on how COVID-19 is impacting children.

Hemminger said health insurance is at the top of her mind.

"I'm really concerned about kids who've lost their insurance because of the unemployment of the parents," she explained. "How their health care will continue is sort of an open question that's been hard to get good data. Of the people who are unemployed, how many have dependent children? That's a hard number to get."

Hemminger noted that this information is difficult to find because people filing for unemployment aren't asked if they have dependent children.

Some 5% of children in Maine and nationally didn't have health insurance in the latest Kids Count report, based on data before the pandemic.

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