CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Every year, West Virginia kids count releases a data book on some of the most pressing issues facing children across the mountain state.
This helps determine areas where kids are struggling and need attention.
West Virginia kids count collects data on children’s issues in four areas; education, economic well-being, family and community.
This year the state ranks number 48 in the country, which dropped a point from last year.
“The biggest reason for that is poverty. A quarter of our kids live in poverty throughout the state of West Virginia and it doesn’t give them the foundation to lift themselves up in terms of education and health,” Tricia Kingery, West Virginia Kids Count Executive Director said.
2020 has presented other challenges as well.
“Poverty, the opioid crisis and then combined with COVID-19, we really have to lift children’s needs up,” Kingery said.
On the flip side, there are some strengths.
“We have more kids graduating from high school than ever before and our teen pregnancy rate is down. We have things to celebrate,” Kingery said.
Overall, the group is happy with what the data book reveals.
“Our education is improving, although there’s areas that always need work. We’re hoping to partner with others in the education community to do things for kids in creative ways,” Kingery said.
This year they’ve made the data book interactive so people can compare different states and counties.