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ND makes the grade in a national report evaluating public school support; SCOTUS justices express free speech concerns about GOP-backed social media laws; NH "kids on campus" program boosts retention; proposed law bans hemp sales to Hoosiers younger than 21.

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The Supreme Court hears arguments on whether social media can restrict content. Biden advisors point to anti-democracy speeches at CPAC, and the President heads to the US-Mexico border appealing to voters on immigration and border issues.

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David meets Goliath in Idaho pesticide conflict, to win over Gen Z voters, candidates are encouraged to support renewable energy and rural America needs help from Congress to continue affordable internet programs.

Report: LA Remains Stagnant in Overall Child Well-Being

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Monday, June 19, 2023   

A new annual report finds Louisiana has stagnated on measures to improve children's well-being.

The Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation ranks Louisiana 49th in the nation once again, for child well-being. In individual categories, most of the rankings remained the same, with education increasing to 43rd this year.

Children's advocates in the state have identified some solutions to improve the picture for kids.

And Teresa Falgoust, director of data and research with Agenda for Children, said she believes progress stalled mostly due to the Covid-19 pandemic. She said she is hopeful things will change soon.

"So hopefully, with improvements in our employment rate, we will see some of Louisiana's economic well-being indicators improve over time," said Falgoust. "And we've definitely seen a lot of efforts from schools throughout the state to really catch kids up on many of the things they lost during the pandemic."

Falgoust said she hopes to see investments made to help bolster the state's low rankings.

And the Kids Count report does show some improvements - even where the U.S. saw sharp declines. Fourth grade reading proficiency increased by 2%, and more high-school students are graduating on time as well.

Across the U.S. children's economic security remained stagnant or saw mild declines. Louisiana's last-in-the-nation ranking for families' economic well-being remained the same from last year to this year.

And yet, Leslie Boissiere - vice president of external affairs at the Annie E. Casey Foundation - said this measure is vital to children's overall health and well-being.

"During the pandemic, you saw children talk about the anxiety and the stress that they were feeling when they were feeling food-insecure," said Boissiere. "They didn't have enough to eat, their parents were stressed about how they were going to pay their rent and their mortgage."

She added that some pandemic-era policies were able to help bolster families' budgets. In particular, she cited expansion of the Child Tax Credit, which lifted millions of families and children out of poverty.

Since the expansion was not renewed, children's advocates have been clamoring to get states to expand their own Child Tax Credits.

Disclosure: The Annie E. Casey Foundation contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Education, Juvenile Justice, and Welfare Reform. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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