By Mary Kuhlman
A new national snapshot of child well-being finds Indiana continuing to struggle with high rates of child poverty.
Glenn Augustine, interim CEO and vice president for advancement with the Indiana Youth Institute, says the state is still feeling the effects of the recession.
"Wages in Indiana have not kept pace with the rest of the nation, so even people who have gotten back into the workforce after the recession are maybe not earning as much as they did before," he says. "It makes it challenging for them to provide adequately for their children."
The report looks at four specific categories: family and community, education, health and economic well-being. Overall, Indiana dropped five spots from last year, and now ranks 32nd nationally - but Augustine says it's important not to get "too caught up" in the numbers. He says Indiana's decline is partly attributed to gains in other states.
Augustine also notes there are bright spots in the report for Indiana, including a higher education ranking, a drop in the number of low birth weight babies and fewer children without health insurance.
"There are good things happening in the state of Indiana. We know people are working on these issues," he says. "But not all of Indiana's children are thriving, and we need to look for ways to get those children served by either the public or private sectors that can help them get a better chance in life."
Indiana now ranks 25th for education - its best ranking to date. The state is also seeing improvements in the math performance of all students, and a shrinking gap in performance between white and Hispanic students.