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first_imgDES MOINES, Iowa – An annual report that ranks each state for indicators of child well-being says Iowa has fallen behind in some areas.The 2020 KIDS COUNT report says Iowa has slipped from number three in the overall rankings to tenth in the nation. The indicators that make up the rankings include economic stability, education and health.The report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation says access to early childhood education and eighth-grade math proficiency are particular trouble spots for the Hawkeye State. Anne Discher, executive director of the Child and Family Policy Center in Des Moines, says the pre-K barriers are especially concerning.“You know, a lot more four-year-olds go to pre-school than three-year-olds,” says Discher. “But the fact is, we’re leaving out lots of kids, our early-education system is missing lots of kids; not accessible to a lot of kids to get that quality, early-childhood experience.”The report says 53% of three- and four-year-olds in Iowa are not enrolled in school. Discher says it’s an area where more state funding would help with access issues.And while Iowa usually fares better than the national average on several key indicators, Discher says the new data was compiled before the COVID-19 crisis, so the gaps might run even deeper. And no matter the timing, she says there are still too many kids in Iowa who are left behind.“Fourteen percent of kids were living in poverty,” says Discher. “That’s pretty substantially better than the national average, but it still translates to 97,000 children. If that were a city, it would be the fourth-largest city in the state.”Past reports from the Casey Foundation have also shown that poverty rates in Iowa are much higher for Black and Latino children.last_img read more

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