Tennessee ranks 46th in nationwide ‘Kids Count’

Posted By | October 12, 2009 12:00 am

Violent deaths among teens was at its highest figure in White County since 1998 as indicated in a recently released state report that uses numerous indicators to develop the annual statistics.
In 2007, four violent deaths among teens were recorded for White County.
“Kids Count: The State of the Child in Tennessee” report on child well-being, which is released annual, provides data used to help guide priorities for children through its identification of critical issues and strategic solutions. This report is coordinated by Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth. The most recent figures are from 2007.
The report focuses on the state’s most vulnerable children. It provides an overview of children in state custody, services of Tennessee Department of Children’s Services and includes recommendations.
In White County, the total population under 18 years old was 5,629, in 2007.
Some of the categories listed in the report are as follows:
•The number of students participating in free/reduced lunch program remained the same for 2007 as the figure in 2006, at 1,698.
•The number of teens who gave birth in 2006 was 16. This was the third highest number since 1998, with 19 in 1998 and 23 in 2000.
•The number of teens with sexually transmitted diseases, for 2007, was 5. The highest number since 1999 was 10, which occurred in 2004; followed by 2006 at 8; and 2002 and 2005, both at 6.
•Substantiated children abuse/neglect cases were listed at 35, for 2007. Since 1997, the highest number was in 2005, with 191, followed by 2004, with 131.
•One of the areas listed at the highest figure for past 11 years was juvenile court referrals, at 197.
Tennessee’s overall ranking was 46 out of 50 states.
Kids Count uses 10 indicators for its report. Since 2000, Tennessee has improved on five of the indicators and conditions worsened on the other five.
Tennessee’s best ranking is on high school dropouts. The state ranks 23rd in percent of teens who are high school dropouts. Which is a 33 percent improvement from 2000 to 2007.
However, Tennessee ranks 41st on the percent of children without secure parental employment; 42nd on both the teen birth rate and the percent of children in poverty; 43rd on the percent of children in single-parent families; 44th on both the teen death rate and the percent low-birthweight babies; and 47th on infant mortality rate.
Although Tennessee ranked in the bottom 10 of the aforementioned categories, the state’s child death rate for ages 1 to 14 decreased 21 percent from 2000 to 2006, which had previously been the lowest level in the decade.
Teen births in the 15-17 years old age group increased from 3.266, in 2005, to 3,394, in 2006. However, births decreased for teens 18-19 years old from 7,519, in 2005, to 7,390, in 2006.
According to Kids Count data, the highest figure for births in the 15-17 years old category, from 1995-2007, was in 1995, at 4,553.
Teens who are high school dropouts increased from 20,000, in 2006, to 24,000, in 2007.
Children living in poverty increased from 322,000, in 2006, to 331,000, in 2007.
The number of children living in single-parent households was at its highest figure in 10 years, at 495,000.
For detailed information about White County’s and Tennessee’s rankings, log onto http://datacenter.kidscount.org/.
All states may also be found at this same Web site.

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