Kids Count 2018

Sep 27, 2018

Mitch Lifson presenting Kids Count results for Illinois.
Credit WVIK News

Children's lives are improving in Illinois and Iowa but they still face many problems, especially for minorities. That was the message Wednesday during a review of the latest Kids Count Report. 

Mitch Lifson, from Voices for Illinois Children, says 98 per cent of Illinois children now have health insurance, and about half of them receive benefits from the Medicaid program.

"And over all of this is the state's budget situation. And so we have to make sure that where we've made improvements, we solve the fiscal matters on the state level so it doesn't endanger the well-being of children."

And he cautions that just having health insurance does not guarantee access to quality medical care. 

Michael Crawford, from the Child and Family Policy Center for Iowa, says several health measures are showing improvement - including infant mortality, the number of low birthweight babies, and the number of teen births. But child poverty continues to increase.

"When people start their careers their pay is less. Also single parent families that are younger are getting paid less because there's only one income. I think those are the two big factors. And even though teen births are down, the families that are having babies are facing dire consequences because of the incoome they don't have."

And in both states there are wide disparities between children from white families and those who are African-American and Hispanic.  

Each year the Annie E. Casey Foundation works with local agencies to collect and analyze this data on the well-being of chilren.