Kids count shows progress in Alabama
After years of struggling, Alabama begins to see some significant improvements in children's well-being. We have been reviewing the Alabama kids-count-data-book released by Voices for Alabama Children.
The data shared the impact child advocates have made on our youngest citizens. The state has seen noted improvement in children covered by insurance. Ninety-six percent now has some coverage. Twenty-eight percent of 4-year-olds are enrolled in the Alabama first class Pre-K program. And the child death rate has fallen slightly.
Another area of improvement that really stands out is the number of births to teenagers aged 15 to 17, which is at a historically low level. When it comes to adolescent pregnancy, education is key.
President and CEO of Girls Inc. of Central Alabama, Connie Smith told ABC 33/40 people who work with young people are hungry for this information. It is important for our youth to have accurate and important health information.
"We know that people who worked with young people are hungry for this kind of information in their programs," said Hill.
According to the report, teen pregnancy rates have declined about 48 percent since 2005.
"Part of helping a girl reach her fullest potential is helping her understand the importance of delaying child rearing," said Hill.
Hill says preventing teen pregnancy is the most important piece of their program.
"We have research-based programming that is appropriate for all ages of girls," said Hill.
The program focuses on the social, emotional, physical, and financial aspect of pregnancy and childbirth. Hill says making the program as close to real has a great impact on kids, and is making a difference across the state.
"What you would have to give up in terms of friends, clubs, or extracurricular activities. The challenge of doing homework and an infant crying. And really help the girls see what kinds of barriers having a child in their teens might put on their lives," said Hill.
Here's another interesting point in this report. Now that more children are covered by insurance, that also helps with the decline in teen pregnancy because teens can now afford birth control through their insurance.
One of their biggest concerns is children living in poverty rates. About twenty-seven percent of children in Alabama live in poverty and more than thirty-one percent of children under the age of five live in poverty. A spokesperson told Grigley, the state needs a huge push from lawmakers to combat this issue.