The West Virginia Kids Count Data Book was released Wednesday, April 16, and the results for Logan County were shocking.
Logan ranks 41st out of W.Va. 55 counties in early child development. The ranking is based on percent low birthweight babies; infant mortality rate; child death rate; percent four year olds enrolled in Pre-Kindergarten; percent children approved for free and reduced-price meals; child abuse/neglect rate; teen birth rate; percent births to unmarried teens; percent high school drop-outs; teen injury death rate; percent children in poverty; and percent births to mothers with less than a 12th grade education.
Since 2005, there have been rises in two major catagories for Logan County youth: teen birthrate (from 51.2 percent to 67.1 percent) and the percentage of births to unmarried teens (from 7.9 percent to 11.2 percent).
The West Virginia KIDS COUNT foundation was founded in 1991 with the mission to improve the quality of childcare by advocating for the funding necessary to implement a quality rating and improvement system for child care programs, as well as working to improve children’s oral health by advocating for policies that promote good dental care for the state’s youngest children.
The foundation was inspired by a nationwide project, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, which launched the KIDS COUNT initiative in 1989. It was founded on the same basic principles, the more the public and policy makers know about the status and needs of children the greater the chance those needs would be addressed.
The W.Va. chapter has taken many great steps to make this state a greater place to live as a kid. In 1992, they implemented the DAY ONE to teach new parents how their babies learn. That same year they also published the first KIDS COUNT Data Book tracking the key indicators of child well-being on a statewide and county-by-county basis.
Most recently, in 2009 they launched the Business on Board with Childcare! award program to recognize businesses that support their employees’ childcare needs.
The lowest rankings in W.Va. encompassed the south-western part of the state, including Logan’s neighboring counties: Boone ranked 49th, Wyoming 50th, Mingo 54th and McDowell (with the worst ranking) came in 55th.
Monongalia County was ranked number one.