New report ranks wellbeing of Alabama's children

Dec 9, 2020

Credit alavoices.org

A new report could give future researchers information on how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted children in the state.

The Alabama Kids Count Data Book is a project by the group Voices for Alabama’s Children. It is a collection of reports and information from state agencies to help give lawmakers and advocates an idea of where help is needed the most.

Stephen Woerner is the executive director for VOICES. He said the coronavirus pandemic makes this year’s book a little different.

“Our data site came from 2018-2019, that’s the most recent data set. This book is best used a benchmark about where we were before COVID started.  As we move through the next couple of years we’ll be able to see the significant impact,” he said.

Woerner said the book looks at 70 indicators across four areas. Those are health, safety, education and economic security. He said the overall well-being of Alabama’s children has dropped from 44th to 47th in the nation.

“The hard part about that is, if you look at the 16 indicators they track, compared to the previous year, we’ve improved or stayed the same on 14 of the 16 indicators. What that tells us is that we’re getting better, but we’re not getting better as fast as other states. When we’re comparing ourselves to other states, we’re not doing what we need to do to continue to move forward," Woerner said.

This year, Shelby County ranks No. 1 in the state for overall well-being, followed by Limestone, Lee, and Baldwin counties. Greene County ranks 67th.