2023 KIDS COUNT shows improvement in some areas but not in others in Louisiana

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The 2023 KIDS COUNT for Louisiana shows significant progress over the years, but Director of Data and Research with Agenda for Children Teresa Falgoust says there’s still room for improvement. She says the state saw improvements in reading proficiency among 4th graders and high school graduation rates.

“In 2023, 96% of Louisiana children had access to health insurance, which is just a huge improvement over the years,” said Falgoust.

Before CHIP began, she says the rate was much lower.

Falgoust says one of the biggest areas that really challenge Louisiana’s children, is the high child poverty rate. She says over the past decade there have been no improvements, and…

“It really affects the likelihood that a child is going to grow up healthy, that they’re going to do well in school, that they’re going to have the sort of opportunities that we know kids need in order to survive,” said Falgoust.

Only Ascension and Livingston Parishes had child poverty rates lower than the national average.

Among the ways to improve the welfare of children in the state, Falgoust says, is to give parents a living wage and benefits like paid leave so they can stay home with their children. And Falgoust says lawmakers need to invest more in education.

“We’ve seen some improvements, but Louisiana still is often lagging behind most other states when it comes to our education indicators. And without a stronger education system we’ll never build the economy that we need for our state,” said Falgoust.

The National KIDS COUNT report will be released on June 14th.

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