BOSTON (CBS/AP) — The latest Kids Count report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation has found that children in Massachusetts are better off than almost anywhere else in the nation.
According to the survey released Tuesday, children in Massachusetts lead the nation in educational achievement and are less likely to be without health insurance than in any other state.READ MORE: Runner Who Suffered Heart Attack During Boston Marathon Hopes To Come Back Stronger
Read: Kids Count Report (.pdf)
For example, 47-percent of Massachusetts fourth-graders are proficient readers, which leads the nation.
The report also found that 99 percent of children in the state have access to health insurance and Massachusetts has one of the lowest child poverty rates in the country.
Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, the local branch of Kids Count, said the strong investments in children in Massachusetts are paying off, so kids do better here “than any other state.”
But he told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 there’s still a great deal of work to do in all areas.
“A good example of that is in education, where 47-percent of our fourth-graders are proficient readers. That’s first in the country. But that means 53-percent of our fourth-graders are not proficient readers and you can’t leave half of your kids behind,” he told WBZ NewsRadio 1030.
Berger also noted the crisis at the Department of Children and Families cannot be ignored.READ MORE: Record Fall Warmth: An Unprecedented Autumn In New England
“In child welfare we clearly have significant challenges, as many states do,” he told WBZ.
“That’s an agency that faces some of the hardest challenges in government, of protecting abused and neglected children. It appears that that agency has not had the resources to be able to meet that mandate at the level that we would really want it to.”
The report also found that Massachusetts children are about as likely to abuse drugs and alcohol as kids everywhere.
The states joining Massachusetts with the highest overall child well-being ranking are Vermont, Iowa, New Hampshire and Minnesota.
The lowest-ranking states are Arizona, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico and Mississippi.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Laurie Kirby talks to Noah Berger