children

ANNIE E. CASEY FOUNDATION

Kansas scores 15th among the 50 states for overall child well-being, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2017 “Kids Count” report.

The state’s relatively high overall ranking is driven by its No. 7 ranking for kids’ economic well-being, based on indicators like housing affordability and employment security for parents.

But the state fares less well in three other categories: health, in which the foundation ranks it 20th; education, 26th; and family and community, 23rd.

55Laney69, flickr Creative Commons

As part of a four-year, $9 million System of Care federal grant, Wichita State's Center for Behavioral Health Initiatives (CBHI) at WSU's Community Engagement Institute is working to help children with serious emotional disturbances. The CBHI will also be contracting with the Kansas Department for Aging and Disabilities Services.

The number of Kansas children in state custody has risen to all-time highs as the number of child abuse and neglect complaints also is climbing.

About 7,000 children were in state custody at the beginning of June, including more than 6,100 in out-of-home foster care placement.

Kansas Children’s Alliance executive director Bruce Linhos says workers and government officials are struggling to find a cause for the increase.

The annual KIDS COUNT Data Book ranks Kansas 15th overall for child well-being. While that’s one spot higher than last year in the overall state rankings, Bryan Thompson reports the numbers aren’t so good, in terms of the economic well-being of Kansas kids.

Shannon Cotsoradis, who heads the advocacy group Kansas Action for Children, says Kansas families are struggling, economically.

“In 2012 we have 19% of children living in poverty,” she says. "That’s unchanged from 2011, but the trend has increased significantly over time. Just a few years ago, we were at 15%.”

Kansas is the 16th best state in the nation, in terms of overall child well-being according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, in this year's KIDS COUNT Data Book. The report covers 16 measures of child health, economic well-being, family and community, and education. But while Kansas is in the top-third overall, the economic picture for kids in Kansas is not so bright.