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Kids Count: Economy Hurts FL Children

Kids Count Florida

The latest Kids Count report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that childhood poverty and family unemployment were major factors behind Florida's rank of 37th in the country for child well-being.

The annual report released today ranks each state in four categories. Florida ranks 45th in economic well-being; 27th in education; 38th in health; and 34th in family and community.

"What we see is that the state lags behind most in the economic well-being domain, which is kind of the child poverty rate, whether or not parents have employment, the housing burden, the rate of teens that are not in school and not working,” said Laura Speer, associate director of policy reform and advocacy with the Foundation.

“So that's where the state is actually the furthest behind, and ranked 45th out of the 50 states overall."

Credit Annie E. Casey Foundation

  According to the report, 33 percent of children in Florida have parents who lacked secure employment in 2013, up from 28 percent in 2008.

"We still have substantial proportions of parents who do not have a steady employment income, and not only … steady employment, but having the types of jobs that bring in adequate income and that would provide that health insurance component as well,” said Norin Dollard, who co-directs Florida KIDS COUNT at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

Credit Annie E. Casey Foundation

In 2014, Florida ranked 38th overall in the Kids Count report. 

The report notes a bright spot: a dramatic decline in teen births, both nationwide (from 40 per 1,000 in 2008 to 26 per 1,000 in 2013) and in Florida (from 40 per 1,000 in 2008 to 25 per 1,000 in 2013).

Minnesota ranked 1st in the latest Kids Count. 

Health News Florida will take a deeper look at the impact the Kids Count report has on the state later this week. 

Lottie Watts is a reporter with WUSF in Tampa. WUSF is part of Health News Florida, which receives suport from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.