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Gov. Shumlin applauds Vermont’s progress in child well-being

Vermont improves to second in the nation overall
 
On June 24, Gov. Peter Shumlin applauded the results of the Annie E. Casey Foundation's 24th annual Kids Count Data Book, which evaluates childhood wellness in all 50 states. Vermont has improved its overall ranking in each of the past three years, and now enjoys the second-best ranking in the nation, up from third overall in 2012.

"I am extremely proud that Vermont has improved its childhood wellness ranking for three straight years," said Gov. Shumlin. "We make our children our number one priority in Vermont. But we can't be satisfied; Vermont should lead the nation in ensuring that all children have the opportunity to live healthy, productive lives."

The report 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, each of which Vermont ranked in the top 10. Among the indicators released Vermont ranked:

·         3rd overall in education, with improvement in 4th grade reading proficiency, eighth grade math proficiency, and on-time graduation.

·         3rd overall in family and community, with improvements in teen births rates, and parental education.

·         9th overall in economic wellbeing, up from 12th last year.

The Governor noted several actions taken recently that will continue Vermont's positive progress for children. "We are now the only state in the nation to provide free school lunch for all eligible children, so that kids won't have to learn while hungry. We are expanding pre-kindergarten, flexible learning for school-aged children, and whole school services," the governor said. "We are also investing in low-income heating assistance and other services to help ensure low-income children have the support they need to be healthy and well-educated. And I have called for an early childhood education summit this fall that will yield further improvements in the coming years."

"I am proud of the work our schools, parents and caregivers, health care providers, and communities have done to support our children," said Secretary Doug Racine of the Agency of Human Services. "We focus on improving the lives of Vermont's children every day at the Agency, and it is gratifying to see Vermont's outstanding ranking this year in childhood wellness."

The Annie E. Casey Foundation is a private charitable organization, dedicated, since 1948, to helping build better futures for disadvantaged children in the United States. The 2013 Data Book is available at: http://datacenter.kidscount.org/publications/databook/2013.