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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: SC kids need stronger economy, better education, resilient families

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Tuesday, June 11, 2024   

A report on the condition of America's children ranks South Carolina near the bottom of the 50 states in economic well-being, education and family but advocates say some of the numbers do contain bright spots.

The annual Kids Count Data Book found fewer South Carolina children come from single-parent families and live in high-poverty neighborhoods.

Sarah Knox, senior director of policy and advocacy for the Children's Trust of South Carolina, said the report gives her group a glimpse into what problems on which to focus their attention.

"We continue to have a high percentage of babies being born at a low birth weight. We continue to have a high rate of children and teen, child and teen death. We continue to have a high rate of children and teenagers with obesity," Knox outlined. "Those are the type of things that we're looking at and thinking about what we can do."

The Annie E. Casey Foundation study found more South Carolina kids are obtaining health insurance and the rate of teen pregnancies is down. The report ranks South Carolina 40th overall, with ratings of 36th in family and community, 39th in education, 40th in economic well-being, and 46th in health.

Knox noted the annual study is helpful in setting priorities with legislators and other policymakers about what programs are needed to benefit children.

"Every single year, we see things that have gotten maybe a little bit better and things have gotten a little bit worse," Knox pointed out. "We see this as reason to continue to invest in prevention programs across the state. Investing in prevention is really where we need to be so that we're not having to deal with issues downstream."

Leslie Boissiere, vice president of external affairs for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, said compared to peer nations, the U.S. is not equipping its children with the high-level reading, math and digital problem-solving skills needed in a highly competitive global economy.

"Our economy is propelled by a prepared workforce," Boissiere contended. "In order for our economy to work well, it's important that we prepare young people with the skills that they need so that they are entering the workforce prepared."

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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