Economic recession taking a toll on Kansas children, reports indicate
Many Kansas children aren’t faring well, according to two reports released Tuesday.
In its annual survey, Kansas Action for Children said the troubled economic times are having an impact on youngsters.
“As more working families struggle to make ends meet, more children are relying on free and reduced school lunches and more children are growing up without health coverage,” said Shannon Cotsoradis, president of KAC.
The new Kansas KIDS COUNT data showed that 45 percent of Kansas school children receive free or reduced lunch, 40 percent of children are growing up in low-income households, and 10 percent of Kansas children are uninsured.
“It’s no secret that Kansas families are feeling the pain of the economy,” Cotsoradis said. Despite the problems, she credited the Kansas Legislature with providing quality early-childhood education programs and affordable health coverage.
Another report showed that Kansas’ infant mortality rate remains a problem.
In 2009, 290 infant deaths occurred, which was 7 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, according to the newest edition of the Annual Summary of Vital Statistics released by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, who is the state health officer and director of KDHE’s Division of Health, said that “a particularly troubling public health issue in Kansas is the high infant mortality rate. Despite a decline from 2007 to 2009, the rate still remains too high.”
The disparity in the infant, neonatal and post-neonatal death rates between White non-Hispanics and Black non-Hispanics continues to be a public health concern, he said. The Black non-Hispanic infant death rate (15.5) is 2.6 times higher than the rate for White non-Hispanics (6.0).