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Biden administration moves to protect Alaska wilderness; opening statements and first witness in NY trial; SCOTUS hears Starbucks case, with implications for unions on the line; rural North Carolina town gets pathway to home ownership.

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The Supreme Court weighs cities ability to manage a growing homelessness crisis, anti-Israeli protests spread to college campuses nationwide, and more states consider legislation to ban firearms at voting sites and ballot drop boxes.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Report: Wyoming Children Near Bottom Nationally for Health

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Wednesday, June 14, 2023   

Wyoming dropped from 14th to 27th nationally in this year's Kids Count Data Book published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which ranks states for child well-being.

Micah Richardson, director of programs for the Wyoming Community Foundation, said keeping the overall ranking in positive territory is hard to do when you rank 46th nationally in child health.

"Every year we come back to that health ranking, and every year we are near the bottom," Richardson pointed out. "Each year we talk about the importance of expanding Medicaid, and that has shown to benefit other states, and other families and children."

Wyoming is one of just 11 states to not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which would help an estimated 19,000 mostly low-wage women workers get health coverage. A majority of Wyoming voters want lawmakers to expand coverage, but measures have failed, year after year.

Lack of affordable, accessible and quality child care continues to be a significant barrier to a family's ability to stay on track financially. One in 10 Wyoming children lives in a family which had to change jobs due to child care problems.

Richardson noted child care for a toddler in a single parent household costs, on average, 24% of the median income.

"Wyoming, like so many other places in the nation, is really struggling with child care generally; accessibility and affordability," Richardson emphasized. "Right now the average cost of child care is more than it costs to go to the University of Wyoming."

The U.S. government spends $500 per child annually for child care, compared to $14,000 on average in other developed nations. Some 17,000 children in Wyoming live in poverty, up from 16,000 in last year's report, but the state still made the top 20 for children's economic well-being.

Wyoming ranked 12th nationally in family and community indicators, including improvements in the number of kids living in families where the head of the household has earned a high school diploma.

Disclosure: The Annie E. Casey Foundation contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Education, Juvenile Justice, and Welfare Reform. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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