Alabama might as well adopt it as its motto in Kids Count rankings. The rankings are out, and Alabama comes in at a paltry 48 in the country in categories that affect the well being of the state’s children. Only Mississippi and Louisiana were worse.
While the state made some strides, it simply should not be good enough to move up a point or two in a handful of categories in an area as vital as children’s concerns. And it ought to be unacceptable to drop overall — from 47th last year to 48th this year and from 43 just three years ago.
Kids Count ranks states in the welfare of children through benchmarks like infant mortality rates, low birth weights, drop-out rates, teen death rates, teen pregnancies and other key measures.
While we see pockets of success, the overall picture for Alabama children looks none too good. And that’s simply the lack of focus on finding solutions — and adequately funding them — so that the plight of children improves in this state.
Locally, we see programs like Sylacauga Alliance for Family Enhancement and its highly touted drop-out initiative constantly in jeopardy of losing funding. It is programs like those that have the potential to turn lives around.
But in Alabama, it is a matter of seeing only costs when officials need to be viewing them as investments. The cost isn’t the initial dollars and cents put into these life changing programs, it is the cost of doing nothing that keeps Alabama hovering at the bottom of the heap.
And it is the cost of a better future for our children and our state.
Alabama can do better by its children. Let’s hope it starts moving in that direction before it is branded with failing grades once again.