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Study Gives Mixed Results on Virginia Children’s Well Being

In its 25th annual databook, the Annie E. Casey foundation says there are both good and bad trends for childhood well being in Virginia. There have been several significant improvements since 1990 in child health and education. In that year 36 percent of children were in preschool versus 51 percent in 2011. In 1992, 31 percent of 4th graders could read proficiently. In 2013 that number was up to 43 percent. A larger percentage of children, 91 percent in 2012 over 79 percent in 1990, are in families where the household head has a high school diploma. Over the past 25 years the teen birth rate has been cut in half from 53 births per 1,000 teens to 23 per 1,000. The child and teen death rate has also been cut nearly in half over the past two decades from 44 per 100,000 to 22 per 100,000. Ted Groves, Kids Count Director at Voices for Virginia's Children, says there have been some worrisome trends in the area of economic security and family structure. These include an increase in the number of single parents, who are statistically more likely to struggle financially. In 1990 23 percent of children were in single parent families. In 2012 that number stands at 31 percent.