OAKLAND, Calif. – California is showing no improvement for overall children’s well-being. For the second consecutive year, the Golden State ranks 41st in the nation in the annual KIDS COUNT report.
According to Ted Lempert, president of Children Now, California leaders aren’t giving enough attention to the fundamental issues undermining our children’s – and our state’s – success.
“Essentially, we are not prioritizing kids,” he charged. “So, even though we are one of the top states in revenue, we’re well in the bottom half in terms of investing in education. And that also is true in terms of children’s health and other issues.”
Lempert said the state’s poor ranking doesn’t make sense when you consider that California ranks 11th in tax revenues and second in spending for prisons and corrections.
He said he believes the reason kids aren’t getting the level of attention they need and deserve is largely a function of their lack of power and influence relative to other interest groups.
“It’s really not that folks don’t care about kids: I think our elected leaders do,” he said. “I think that what we’re not doing is putting the pressure on them to do what they know is right.”
Children Now is spearheading The Children’s Movement of California, an effort to push for changes they say kids clearly need. More than 600 Pro-Kid organizations have joined the movement, which is the first of its kind in the state.
The Data Book ranks each state and the District of Columbia on 16 key indicators of how children are faring in the four categories of economic well-being, education, health, and family and community.
See the KIDS COUNT Data Book at AECF.org. More information is at ChildrenNow.org.