State given mixed score on child health, teen driving

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

With apologies to Charles Dickens, Nebraska “is the best of states, the worst of states.”

The Annie E. Casey Foundation is adopting the first stance, with the implication that ending the Affordable Care Act and cutting Medicaid and other services will seriously hurt our standings in services for young children.

WalletHub, on the other hand, concludes Nebraska is one of the worst states when it comes to teen drivers.

The 2017 Kids Count Data Book created by the Casey Foundation, ranks Nebraska 11th nationally for overall child well-being.

Specifically, 95 percent of children in the U.S. and Nebraska now have health care coverage through Obamacare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Policies like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit are resulting in fewer kids living in poverty, more parents having jobs and more families able to afford housing, said Chrissy Tonkinson, research coordinator for Voices for Children.

Nebraska has one of the highest rates of parents who work in the country, as well as parents who work multiple jobs, she said. “So, our economic well-being score is indicative of how much we work; and then also, Nebraska is pretty affordable to live,” she said.

Laura Speer of the Casey Foundation called for leaders to use the information to make good decisions to maintain the gains already made.

Once those children reach driving age, however, they face worse than average odds, according to WalletHub.

With 226 auto-related teen deaths every month in the U.S., the personal-finance website compared 50 states based on 21 key metrics.

With 1 being best and 25 average, Nebraska ranked:

* 42nd in teen driver fatalities per teen population.

* 43rd in teen DUIs per teen population.

* 42 in presence of distracted-driving/texting-while-driving laws

* 32 in premium increase after adding teen driver to parent’s policy.

* 43 in provision of teen driver’s graduated licensing program laws.

* 30 in vehicle miles traveled per capita

* 28th in presence of occupant-protection laws

The conclusion? You can find a silver lining if you’re looking for one, but there’s always room for improvement.


Read the complete Annie E. Casey report here: http://bit.ly/2rn0Ayh

Read the WalletHub report here: http://bit.ly/28LjlRb

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