Kids Count

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Poverty grips more than a quarter of Kentucky’s kids.

About 260,000 children in Kentucky live in poverty, and more are living in pockets of poverty across the state than in years prior, according to the 2016 Kids Count report.

The report is produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and co-released with Kentucky Youth Advocates.

Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, called this year’s findings bad news for Kentucky’s kids and families. The state ranks 35th in the overall economic well-being of children, per the report. That’s a slightly worse ranking than in 2015, Brooks said.

“Are we, as a commonwealth, content with being in the bottom third of states when it comes to child well-being,” he said.

A recent report on the welfare of children in Tennessee highlights the importance of public programs.

State health and child welfare experts have released the latest Kids Count report, which this year examined challenges to raising children in Tennessee, and whether state programs are doing enough to help them.

Among the report's findings was that nearly half of the state's pregnant women don't receive adequate prenatal care, and less than a third of teens from poor families are finding work.

Linda O'Neal is executive director of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth and was among those discussing the report.

According to The Tennessean, O'Neal said the poor economy has hurt the welfare of children in Tennessee, which "highlights the importance of public programs" like the one that provides in-home visits for families with newborns.