Report: Number of children in out-of-home care doubles

The rate of children in out-of-home care has nearly doubled in Clark County in the past five years, according to date released by Kentucky  Youth Advocates early this month.

The 2018 Kentucky Kids Count data released Nov. 13 indicates the number of Clark County children living in out-of-home care — calculated per 1,000 children age newborn to 17 — was 64.9 from 2015-17. The rate in 2011-13 was 31.6 in 2011-13. Clark ranks 95th of the 119 counties for which data was available.

The rate of children in out-of-home care continues to rise in 92 counties, fueled by parents struggling with addiction, according to the report.

The number of Kentucky children in foster care has reached a record high, with even steeper growth in the number of children being raised by relatives outside of the foster care system, according to the report.

The number of Kentucky children being raised by relatives outside of the foster care system also continues to rise with a 75 percent increase between 2012- 2014 and 2016-2018.

From 2012-14, 55,000 children were in relative care and 12,708 were in foster care. In 2016-18, 96,000 children were living in relative care and 15,908 were in foster.

In addition to this information, the report offers the latest data on 17 measures of child well-being, showing whether outcomes for children across the commonwealth have improved, worsened or stayed the same over a five-year period, according to a press release.

Statewide data highlights from the 2018 County Data Book include:

— Kentucky has made progress in the percent of children living in poverty with improved rates in 93 out of 120 counties. And yet, nearly one in four Kentucky kids still live in poverty.

— After decades of progress, Kentucky’s rate of insured children has reached an all-time high at 96.7 percent. All 120 counties have improved rates in children having health coverage.

— More children in approximately half of Kentucky’s counties are living in high poverty areas (where at least 20 percent of residents are poor), which are much more likely to have high rates of crime, violence and unemployment, and lack access to high-performing schools, quality health care and safe outdoor spaces.

While more children are living in out-home-care, Clark County has made strides reducing the number of children who are incarcerated. In fact, in 2015-17, the rate of children incarcerated was 34.4 per 1,000 children ages 10 to 17, half of the 2010-12 rate of 70.6.

Clark’s rate is still higher than the state’s average of 25.6, though, and the county ranks 99th in the state.

Clark County saw improvements is most other categories of the report. Some of the key findings for in Clark County, broken down by category, are:

Economic Security

Based on data from 2012-16:

— 8 percent of children live in deep poverty (below 50 percent of the federal poverty level), a decrease from an average of 13 percent from 2007-11 and less than the state average of 12 percent. Clark ranks 12th in the state. 

— 24.8 percent of children live in poverty (below 100 percent of the federal poverty level), a slight decline from 25.4 percent in 2011 and in line with the state average of 24.4 percent. Clark ranks 42nd in the state.

— 45 percent of children live in low-income families (below 200 percent of the federal poverty level), the same as the 2007-11 data and slightly less than the state average of 48 percent. Clark ranks 23rd in the state.

— 17.4 percent of children live in food-insecure homes, a decrease from the 2011 rate of 20.8 percent and slightly less than the 19.2 percent state average. Clark ranks 23rd in the state.

Education

In the 2017-18 school year:

— 55.6 percent of children entered kindergarten “ready to learn,” a slight decrease from the 2013-14 rate of 57.5 percent and higher than the state average of 51.4 percent. Clark ranks 43 in the state.

— 57.5 percent of elementary school students are proficient in reading, an increase from 52.6 percent in 2012-13 and higher than the state average of 54.6 percent. Clark ranks 63rd in the state.

— 54.9 percent of middle school students are proficient in math, up from 47 percent in 2012-13 and higher than the state average of 47 percent. Clark ranks 37th in the state.

— 98.5 percent of high school students graduate on time, up from 90.3 percent in 2012-13 and higher than the state average of 90.3 percent. Clark ranks 15th in the state.

Health

Based on data from 2012-16:

— 97.1 percent of children younger than 19 have health insurance, up from 84.2 percent in 2011 and nearly the same as the state average of 96.7 percent. Clark ranks ninth in the state.

— 81 percent of young adults (ages 19-25) have health insurance. Clark ranks 46th in the state.

— The teen birth rate, calculated as a rate per 1,000 females age 15 to 19, is 39.1 in Clark County, down from 54.1 in 2009-11, but higher than the state average of 31.7. Clark ranks 62nd in the state.

Family and community

Based on data from 2012-2016:

— 13.1 percent of births are to mothers without a high school diploma, a decrease from the 2009-11 rate of 21.8 percent and less than the state average of 14.3 percent. Clark ranks 45th in the state.

— 30 percent of children live in poverty, showing no change from 2007-11, but less than the state average of 40 percent. Kentucky ranks 32nd in the state.

Detailed data is available for every Kentucky county at www.kyyouth.org/kentucky-kids-count/.