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Report: 'Life And Death' Differences in U.S. Child Well-Being Exist Between Top and Bottom States, Youths Up to Three Times More Likely to Die Before Adulthood in Some Parts of U.S.
Date:4/2/2008

e juvenile incarceration rate is more than 8 times Vermont's.

What explains the differences between the states on key child well-being standards? In addition to poverty, race and educational achievement, the Every Child Matters Education Fund identifies the following factors: "Political Culture - The bottom states generally have a narrower view of the role of government in addressing social issues ...; Taxes -- The bottom states generally tax themselves at much lower rates, leaving themselves without the revenue needed to make adequate investments in children - there is a close correlation between state tax burdens and child well-being; Weak Federal Policy - Federal initiatives to address the well-documented needs of children across the country -- health care, child abuse, poverty -- have been scant; (and) Declining Federal Investments - Federal investments in children, historically structured in a way meant to level differences between states, have declined sharply as a percentage of the federal budget in recent years -- and they are projected to decline more sharply in the decade ahead."

RECOMMENDED ACTION STEPS

The following recommendations are contained in the ECMEF report to make this issue a greater priority moving forward:

-- Congressional hearings;

-- Policy positions on children's issues should be put forward by the presidential candidates;

-- The new administration in 2009, led by the Department of Health and Human Services, should convene a national conference to examine the disparities in child well-being among the states and make recommendations for closing this gap to the new president;

-- The national associations that represent state and local governments -- mayors, governors, legislatures, counties -- should place differences in child well-being on their policy agendas for review and action;

-- The private sector - corporations, professional associations, and foundations - shoul
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SOURCE Every Child Matters Education Fund (ECMEF), Washington,D.C.
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