LANSING (WWJ) — A new report found that while we’re trying to plan a better future in Michigan, a big part will be the way that we take care of our children.

According to a Michigan League for Public Policy press release, one in every 20 Michigan mothers in “legacy” cities received late or no prenatal care.

The report found that 25 percent of newborns in Michigan were born to mothers living in one of 15 “legacy” cities — those former industrial powerhouses that took the brunt of the economic decline, including Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Saginaw and Kalamazoo.

Jane Zehnder-Merrill with ‘Kids Count’ said that while Michigan has made a sizable investment in early childhood education, much more needs to be done.

“Frankly, we really can’t wait until a child is four to begin to be attentive,” Zehnder-Merrell said. “We know that simply adding more income into the family improves the outcome for kids because poverty is the biggest issue.”

The report also found that infants in Michigan’s cities were more than twice as likely to be born to women without a high school diploma or GED, had roughly double the likelihood of being born to a teenager and nearly double the risk of being born to a single parent compared to out-county areas.

“For an infant born into disadvantaged communities, the inequities worsen as they grow – fewer state-supported early prevention and intervention programs are available,” Zehnder-Merrell said.

You can read the full report HERE.


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