Report: Utah Among Top 5 States for Child Wellbeing

June 23, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY – Families with children in Utah and other states have remained mostly stable over the past year in an annual child welfare report, but it warns that a return to pre-pandemic support levels could harm millions of children.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT 2021 data book tracks children’s health, education, and family stability by state. Utah’s overall ranking, based on 2019 data, fell slightly from fourth to fifth place.

Leslie Boissiere, vice president of external affairs for the foundation, said states must adopt policies that ensure children are provided with food and shelter, mental health care and strategies to overcome racial inequalities.

“We know that children who grow up in poverty have poorer health outcomes,” said Boissière. “They live in substandard housing that has issues like mold and lead that go untreated. Low-income families live in poorer neighborhoods that have poorer schools, so their educational outcomes tend to be worse. . “

The Data Book showed that Utah made gains from 2010 to 2019 in most key metrics, but also saw an increase in the rate of low birth weight babies and child and adolescent deaths. over the decade.

Martín Muñoz, data analyst at Voices for Utah Children, said the biggest payoff for Utah’s children may be coming in July with the expansion of the federal government
Child Tax Credit, which will directly provide families with $ 300 to $ 350 per month per child.

“With the number of children under the age of 17, I believe they make up almost a third of our population in Utah, it will make a significant difference in a lot of families to know that every month they will have this. money sent to their checking account, ”argued Muñoz.

He said making the tax credit permanent would be an important step in eliminating child poverty.

Muñoz added that while the current ranking, based on pre-pandemic data, is good, it could give policymakers the wrong idea of ​​how Utah’s children are actually doing.

“This is where we have to make sure that our legislators, our policy makers understand that we have slipped a bit,” Muñoz said. “But how much more are we going to slide, once we start to see the effects of COVID on some of these numbers?”

The Casey Foundation has published its KIDS COUNT data book annually since 1990.

Click here. Kids Count Data Book Utah Data Annie E. Casey Foundation 06/21/2021 American Rescue Plan 03/11/2021

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