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VA law prevents utility shutoffs in extreme circumstances; MI construction industry responds to a high number of worker suicides; 500,000 still without power or water in the Houston area; KY experts: Children, and babies at higher risk for heat illness.

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The House passes the SAVE Act, but fails to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, and a proposed federal budget could doom much-needed public services.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

Report: LA kids rank near bottom for poverty, health, family life

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Tuesday, June 11, 2024   

A report on the condition of America's children ranks Louisiana near the bottom of the 50 states for economic well-being, health and family, but advocates say the numbers contain some bright spots.

The annual Annie E. Casey Kids Count report found that Louisiana fourth-graders made gains in reading proficiency and in high school students graduating on time.

Teresa Falgoust, director of data and research for New Orleans-based Agenda for Children, said how children do in school is often affected by their home environment.

"Child poverty is such a predictor of outcomes for children. When they don't have their basic needs met, children are more likely to experience negative health outcomes, to do worse in school, and all of the other things that we know can really harm children's outcomes in life," she said.

The report ranks Louisiana 48th overall, with ratings of 42nd in education, 49th in economic well-being, 49th in health, an 48th in family and community. The Annie E. Casey Foundation study did find that fewer Louisiana kids are living in poverty, and fewer children are living in single parent families.

Falgoust said statistics show it's important that children have a strong and supportive family life in order for them to thrive and grow into productive adults.

"One of the key things that Louisiana can do to improve child well-being is to really focus on improving family well-being and economic security. We know that when children have all of their basic needs met, they're really put on the pathway to success," she continued.

Leslie Bossiere, vice president of external affairs with the Casey Foundation, said a substantial number of children have had one or more adverse childhood experiences, which can negatively impact their development and ability to cope with challenges.

"Ensuring that these adverse childhood experiences are addressed, that they have the resources that they need within the school and within the community so that they can heal is significantly important to the well-being of children," she said.

The report is published annually by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Rank­ings are based on 16 indi­ca­tors in four areas: economic well-being, edu­ca­tion, health and com­mu­ni­ty and fam­i­ly.

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


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