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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Report: SC Children Need Critical Health Improvements

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Friday, June 16, 2023   

A new annual report finds South Carolina could be doing better to support children's health.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation's latest Kids Count Data Book ranked South Carolina 47th among the states for children's health, a four-point drop from the last rankings. It found the number of babies born at a low birth weight hit 10% in 2021, the highest in a decade, part of a national trend.

Sarah Knox, senior director of policy for the Children's Trust of South Carolina, said more support could ensure the state sees better health outcomes for its children.

"We know that improving nearly all health outcomes begins with healthy mothers and healthy babies," Knox asserted. "This is why Children's Trust strongly supports home-visiting programs, which are evidence-based tools that reduce the rate of low birth weight, and both maternal and infant mortality."

She noted the programs are serving only 10% of the eligible population, and argued expanding them could ensure healthier outcomes for kids. A Children's Trust of South Carolina report finds 44 of the state's 46 counties are at risk for prenatal, maternal, newborn or child health outcomes. Currently, Children's Trust home-visiting services are available in 39 counties.

Another issue the report noted for South Carolina and the U.S. is the lack of affordable child care.

Leslie Boissiere, vice president of external affairs for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, said it is time for the U.S. to have a functional child care system.

"The country has never had a child care system that is affordable and accessible to families and also pays a family-sustaining wage to workers," Boissiere contended. "It's imperative that we invest in a child care system that can work not only for kids and families, but also for our businesses and the economy."

A report from the Economic Policy Institute found child care in the state for a four-year-old is a little more than $6,000 a year. Infant care is around $7,000 dollars.

For South Carolina parents, the monthly child care cost equates to about 68% of the average rent.

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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