Despite progress in several areas impacting maternal and child health, the proportion of babies born too small remains unchanged according to the 2018 Florida County Child Well-Being Index.
The report, released today by Florida Kids Count, examines progress between 2011 and 2016 by the state and counties on 16 key indicators of child health and well-being. The report offers mixed news for Florida kids. For the state overall, there have been improvements in the Economic domain. Still 1 in 5 of Florida’s children lives in poverty. In Education, there were improvements in math proficiency and graduation rates, but work remains in getting children enrolled in quality early childhood educational programs and in reading and language arts proficiency. Among the Health indicators, there is continued progress in getting children insured and reducing alcohol and substance use among teens, but there has been no progress in helping youngsters achieve healthy weights or in the percent of low birthweight babies. In the Family and Community domain, the rates of verified abuse and neglect have fallen over the past five years, as have contacts with the Juvenile Justice system. However, there are more children living in single parent households, an indicator of economic stability, and more children living in areas of concentrated poverty.
The index is based on the national Kids Count Databook, an annual ranking of states published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The state index underscores the need for targeted efforts to improve child health and well-being, including prevention programs like Healthy Start that provide services to at-risk pregnant women and newborns.