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Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - 10:30am

Child Well-Being Suffers In Ga.

Georgia ranks in the bottom fifth of states nationwide for overall well being of its kids.

The ranking of 42nd takes into account 10 key measures, including low infant birth rates, infant mortality, and persistent poverty. More than a half-million children live in poverty in Georgia.

The data comes from the annual Kids Count report, put-out by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Gaye Smith with the Georgia Family Connection Partnership says without question, the economy and state budget cuts are part of the problem. Especially hard hit she says, are public health outreach programs.

“...which we know impacts the ability to make sure that child-bearing women and pregnant women get access to early and regular pre-natal care.”

But Smith says Georgia’s issues go beyond the current economy. She points to an increased need for public-private partnership solutions to help attack the state’s ‘generational poverty’.

“You’ve got to have your economic development partners, you’ve got to have education and public health, and we also feel that overall community vitality…you’ve got to have healthy, strong communities.”

There are some bright spots in the report. Georgia has improved in the category of teen birth rates, to a ranking of 38th. And the state's drop-out rate has fallen more than 50 percent in the last decade.