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Report Says Michigan Lags In Child Well-Being

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LANSING (WWJ/AP) – A new report says Michigan ranks below many other states when it comes to child well-being.

The assessment comes in the 2012 Kids Count rankings released Wednesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The report says Michigan ranks 32nd among the 50 states in child well-being. It’s ranked among the 10 worst when it comes to the percent of children living in high-poverty areas and for children living in families where no parent has a full-time, year-round job.

Jane Zehnder-Merrell, Kids Count in Michigan project director at the Michigan League for Human Services, said the report reflects “troubling trends.”

She said an astounding number of young students are in academic trouble.

“Roughtly 70 percent, almost 70 percent, of fourth graders are not proficient in reading; the same with eighth graders in math. So we clearly have a long way to go,” Zehnder-Merrell said.

Michigan has ranked 30th in the past two Kids Count reports.

“What’s distressing about this is that over the trend period, between ’05 and 2011, we essentially remain the same while other states made gains on these indicators — so we slipped in the rankings pretty substantially,” Zehnder-Merrel said. “Clearly that’s not where we wanna be as a state — doesn’t speak very well for how well we’re doing with our kids.”

One bright spot, according to the report, is that most Michigan children are covered by health insurance.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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