In In The News

What’s it like to be a kid in Michigan?

That was the question posed to school children in Macomb County and across the state who answered with colorful drawings that appear throughout the pages of the Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP) Kids Count Data Book.

“The artwork brought such an element of joy to the process of putting together this book. We received so many unique submissions — everything from hobbies to Michigan landmarks to pictures of kids in school,” said Kids Count Director Alicia Guevara Warren. “I was really moved by the fact that so many kids were inclusive in their work.”

“The art all contained symbols of kindness, togetherness and community,” Warren added. “That’s a pretty heartwarming message from these young artists.”

It’s also what many parents want for their kids.

But among the whimsical drawings of stick people dancing in the snow and children expressing the joys of having friends who are all different are the hard facts compiled by Kids Count that show while teen pregnancy and high school graduation rates have improved, Michigan continues to see an alarming jump in child abuse and neglect, with confirmed cases up 29.5% since 2012. Despite a 20.6% drop in the state’s poverty rate, almost half a million Michigan children are still living below that threshold.

“The Kids Count Data Book has been working to draw attention to pervasive child poverty for years, as 1 in 5 kids (living in poverty), is still unacceptable and even higher for kids of color. Plus, the alarming increase, in child abuse and neglect, which is impacting our youngest children the most, underscores the urgency of the issues facing our kids,” Warren said. “A family’s lack of economic security affects a child’s well-being in many ways, from their living conditions and nutrition, to their mental and emotional stress, and can lead to unsafe homes.”

The Kids Count report, published annually for 27 years, analyzes and evaluates the condition of children in Michigan while also identifying policy recommendations that can improve the outcomes in four key domains including: economic security, health and safety, family and community and education. Kids Count’s analysis of state data, between 2012 and 2017, includes a close look at 82 of 83 counties (Keweenaw County lacks sufficient data) and ranks each one for overall well-being. April 29, 2019 – Macomb Daily

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