Kids Count sheds light and discussion on future for children

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MARQUETTE, MI - Kids Count Michigan is one of 54 projects across the country using data to track the well-being of children.

"We talk about how can we best help kids," says Alicia Guevara Warren, Kids Count Michigan project director at the Michigan League for Public Policy. "We have to help their parents, we have to help their care givers as well. It's not just about helping the child in order to get those outcomes but knowing that these children live in homes with their families and we have to help a whole family, not just the child."

Michigan ranks 31st out of the rest of the United States for overall child well-being. That may sound pretty good, but both State Representatives John Kivela and Scott Dianda agree with one issue.

"The biggest concern that we heard today was the dollars," said Rep. Scott Dianda, 110th District (D). "We have to make sure that the priority is for the children and that it comes back to all of our counties."

"The challenges that we have are not the same as the challenges downstate," said Rep. John Kivela, 109th District (D). "We're very rural, very remote, we have very high energy costs that people grapple with, we have transportation issues that people struggle with. It's vitally important to these programs to be adequately funded."
 
Data is gathered from an economic well-being standpoint, education, health and family and community. Knowing that information is just the first step toward a better future for children.
 
"I think what's important is being able to take the local data and have that understanding as to what things look like in your own community," says Warren. "How do we use those numbers to make changes in our service delivery in our programs? How do we then connect all of that information to what's going on in Lansing at the capital and in D.C. and some of those policy decisions and how we really make changes to improve outcomes for kids."

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