Dolls populate Capitol, reminder to count kids first
The 2012 KIDS COUNT in Colorado report, released this week by the Colorado Children’s Campaign, shows that a child’s address can dramatically affect his or her well-being and chance for success, with different areas in the state producing wildly different outcomes.
“Colorado’s future success relies on the extent to which we ensure that all Colorado children, in every county of the state, have access to the opportunities they need to succeed,” said Gov. John Hickenlooper in a statement released along with the annual report. “Even in tough times, we need to make certain that Colorado is a great state to be a kid.”
The report marks a dozen indexes by county covering differences in health, education, family life and community issues. Since data wasn’t available for every county, the Children’s Campaign examined the state’s 25 largest counties, which together account for 95 percent of the state’s population under age 18.
According to this year’s measures, Douglas County ranks highest on the composite index, followed by Broomfield and Larimer counties. The counties that score at the bottom are Denver, Morgan and Adams.
“Where a child lives impacts his or her access to health care, safe, outdoor places to play, and a quality education,” said Chris Watney, president and CEO of the Colorado Children’s Campaign. “Where multiple disadvantages occur in a community at the same time, children face greater challenges. In communities where opportunities are plentiful, children are more likely to thrive.”
The nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group says that this year’s data show that the portion of Colorado children living in poverty remained basically unchanged from last year after a decade of sharp increases. Roughly 17 percent of Colorado children belong to families under the poverty line.
By 2021, the report says, there will be more minority children in the state than there will be non-Hispanic white children, if annual trends toward a “majority-minority” population continue. Other findings show the state has dramatically increased the number of children covered by health insurance in recent years, with just 10 percent falling outside coverage in 2010, down from 14 percent two years earlier. In addition, Colorado is one of the most expensive states in the country when it comes to child care.
* See photo spread in the print edition of The Colorado Statesman.