MONTPELIER – Gov. Peter Shumlin today announced the results of a survey that ranked Vermont the third-best state for overall child well-being, noting that in one category – health indicators – Vermont leads the nation.
“I’m proud to continue Vermont’s long-standing commitment to our children, ensuring they have access to health care, great education, and a safe environment,” the Governor said at a news conference at the Family Center of Washington County.
The 2012 KIDS COUNT report, by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, analyzed the latest information on child development and well-being using 16 indicators organized into four categories: Economic Well-Being, Education, Health, and Family and Community. Among the indicators released today ranked Vermont:
- No. 1 for Health, with significant decreases in children without insurance, child and teen deaths and teens who abuse drugs or alcohol.
- No. 2 for Family and Community, with improvements in children in single-parent households, in families there the household held lacks a high school diploma, and teen births.
- No. 3 for Education, with improvements in reading proficiency and high school students graduating on time.
- No. 12 on Economic Well-Being. Rates remained low, but there were increases in poverty and children living in households with a high housing cost burden.
Gov. Shumlin said ranking 12th on economic well-being is a solid position for Vermont, but he added that he’s already moving forward to improve that statistic by focusing on creating and keeping good-paying jobs to Vermont.
“Vermont’s great ranking is the result of our policies and commitments to making sure children do well, and our strong community partnerships with organizations like the Family Center of Washington County and others,” said Human Services Secretary Doug Racine. Racine noted that federal budget cuts to important services and tough economic times have made the task more challenging, but he said Gov. Shumlin continues to push for even more improvement on this front.
Joined by Human Services Secretary Doug Racine, Education Commissioner Armando Vilaseca and Dave Yacavone, commissioner of the Department of Children and Families, the Governor said his administration remains committed to ensuring Vermont is among the very best states in the country to raise children.
Gov. Shumlin also thanked Lee Lauber, executive director of the Family Center, and the staff for their hard work on behalf of children in Washington County.
“We are proud of Vermont’s investment in comprehensive child development and family support services,” said Lauber. “KIDS COUNT results prove investments in our children and families make statistical differences in their wellbeing.”