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Report reveals Michigan lags behind in child well-being

Jun 13, 2017

The 2017 Kids Count Data Book reveals that Michigan lags behind in nearly every aspect of child well-being. The report lists Michigan at 32nd among states for overall child well-being.

The report looks at health, education, economic well-being and family and community as part of a national effort to improve conditions for children and their families.

It also says about 22 percent of Michigan kids lived in poverty in 2015, and about 32 percent of Michigan children lived in households where parents lacked secure employment.

Alicia Guevara Warren is the Kids Count Project Director at the Michigan League for Public Policy. She says at-risk kids will thrive when state policies prioritize childcare programs and increase economic opportunities for low-income parents.

"In order to improve education, we really have to take a comprehensive look at it and support all the systems around education," Guevara Warren said.

There is a bright spot in the data when it comes to the percentage of children with health insurance. Only  three percent of Michigan children lack health insurance, compared to the national average of 5 percent.

Guevara Warren says there have also been some increases in state-funded programs for at-risk kids.

"I think we still have a long way to go, I think it's still an underfunded system, but we're definitely moving in the right direction," she said.

The Michigan League for Public Policy recommends that the state focus on reforming the current childcare system in Michigan to be more accommodating for at-risk kids and their parents. They also suggest that the state increase economic opportunities for low-income parents.