Each fall, Kansas Action for Children releases a report on child well-being for the state of Kansas, as well as for each of the 105 counties. These reports cover how Kansas kids are faring in more than 20 different measures of child well-being, including health, education and economic stability.
These yearly reports are an important resource for advocates, policymakers, and others throughout the state. In my role as director of health policy, I interpret the data and work with partner organizations around the state.
Here are some notable data points from this year’s release:
- After years of progress, the on-time immunization rate for 2 year olds has dropped dramatically from 72 percent to just 61 percent. Immunization protects not only children but infants who are too young for vaccinations, and anyone with compromised immunity.
- Enrollment in Medicaid, an important program that provides health insurance to poor children, is declining. Administrative changes to Medicaid appear to be making the program harder to access for Kansas’ poorest children.
- Although child poverty has grown from 17 percent to 21 percent over the past five years, far fewer children are able to access TANF, a program that benefits our poorest families. Policy changes have led to decreased caseloads, even though the childhood poverty rate hasn’t decreased significantly.
At Kansas Action for children, the data from KIDS COUNT is the foundation for our policy work. This year our priorities are:
- Establish registered dental practitioners
- Restore the Children’s Initiatives Fund
- Improve Child Care Assistance Policy