Data released June 13 in the 2017 Kids Count Data Book ranks Idaho No. 20 in the U.S. for overall child well-being. Gains and setbacks in Idaho during the last six years have largely mirrored those in the rest of the nation: Strides were made in health and economics, while education lagged. Arguably the most notable success for Idaho is a 45 percent decrease in the number of uninsured children in the state—according to Kids Count, just 6 percent of children in Idaho are uninsured. However, children's advocates wonder how long this trend can continue.
Kids Count sources statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among others, and is produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a philanthropic organization which funds research and grants for improving the lives of American children. The 2017 edition zeros in on data from the post-recession years of 2010 to 2015, examining national recovery in four key areas: health, family and community, education and economic well-being.
In its analysis of Kids Count results, AECF emphasized health as an area of both gains and potential losses. The organization attributed 95 percent of children in the U.S. being insured to Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program and the Affordable Care Act, and called it "a tremendous achievement that should not be jeopardized."
Idaho Voices for Children (IVC) is a local nonprofit focused on prioritizing children in government policy, and IVC Director Lauren Necochea is also concerned.
"The proposed cuts to Medicaid and family tax credits in the American Health Care Act threaten critical progress we've made in protecting children's health," she said.
AECF advised removing barriers to health coverage and continuing federal and state investment in programs like CHIP and the ACA. It also made a nonpartisan appeal to federal and state policymakers, insisting they must "not back away from targeted investments that are proving to help U.S. children become healthier."
You can read the full 2017 Kids Count report by clicking the link below: