Alabama dropped two spots from last year to the overall ranking of 44th in the nation for child well-being, according to the 2019 Kids Count Data Book. Escambia County Children’s Policy Council Executive Director Karean Reynolds said that Alabama is so low in the nation for child well-being because of its issue with poverty.
“All of our problems come from people not having adequate jobs,” Reynolds said. “Escambia County does not have a good job market. Majority of our jobs are at the Wind Creek Atmore Casino and the Escambia County School System.”
During the Escambia County Children’s Policy Council meeting on Thursday, Reynolds said 33 percent of youth in Alabama are living in poverty. 50 percent are black youth and 22 percent are white youth. However, nationally 18 percent of youth live in poverty.
Reynolds said one of the county’s top needs are to enhance school success, manage substance abuse and juvenile crime safety. Alabama ranked 38th in education. The state had some slight improvements in the reading proficiency of fourth graders and the math proficiency of eighth graders, but the state’s percentage of children ages three and four not in school continues to grow.