According to the Annie Casey Foundation’s results, the State of Alaska fell toward the bottom of the national rankings. Read on for more.
Children’s Well-Being Compromised in Alaska
The Annie E. Casey Foundation makes a 65 pages long book of data every year, in which they analyze the overall well-being of the children for each state.
The results haven’t shown an excellent image of Alaska’s standard in the previous years. However, all factors considered, the state Alaska ranked 45th out of the 50 countries included for 2019.
Trevor Storrs, the CEO of Alaska Children’s Trust, stated that we mustn’t forget that our children were the most valuable resource in the state, and as he added — Alaska’s children and families had been seriously hurting for the last decade.
This organization provides the data to the Annie Casey Foundation and immensely contributes to the creation of the Kids Count Data Book every year.
He added that it was essential to explain to the citizens which factors were taken into consideration so that they could have a better understanding of these worrying results.
The analysis considers four main factors: economic well-being, education, family and community, and health department.
The Kids Count Data Book published that Alaska stood 33rd in the economic well-being of children, while it was 49th in education domain and 21st in family and community rankings. What was most troubling was the fact that the state of Alaska ranked last in the health department, and it seemed to be for a good reason.
Storrs explained that the authorities needed to become aware of the fact that for every dollar that they decided to invest in early childhood well-being, they could be saving up to 7 dollars in the long term. In spite of this, Alaska chose to invest surprisingly little in this field.
He wanted to address the embarrassing rankings in the health department by explaining the way they ranked this domain, and which factors were taken into consideration.
Storr said that for this part of the evaluation, the Foundation was looking at the numbers of low-weight babies, children without health insurance, and the numbers showing child and teen deaths per 100,000. The numbers of teens who abused drugs and alcohol were added to this list too.
However, the domain in which Alaska terribly failed was the children insurance.
Not only has this study shown that most of the Alaskan children are not medically insured, but Alaska’s status as the state with the highest number of deaths among children and teens should also be a cause for alarm.
Jared Parrish, the senior internal child epidemiologist at the Department of Health and Human Services, stated that this study was using somewhat inconsistent and inaccurate information to be able to form such worrying conclusions every year.
Parrish continued explaining that in everyday practice, the medical staff had the opportunity to see many unintentional and intentional injuries and that more often than not, those injuries were later classified as accidents.
He added that if you added the term “accident” to an unintentional injury, it would fall in the category of vehicle crashes, parental neglect accidents or similar. Parrish explained that this way, you were seriously contributing to the number of unintentional deaths and causing panic among the citizens.
Paris said that the nature of transportation should be considered another cause of worse statistics of the state. He added that the majority of the country was still in close proximity to open or fast-moving waters, which was also another significant factor in the number of unintentional deaths of children in Alaska.
Even though he disagreed with some results of the study, he added that it was necessary to confront the mental health issues of Alaska’s citizens, especially teens, since these numbers were entirely accurate and somewhat alarming.
He added that we needed to look closer at the spectrum of suicide and understand what could be done as quickly as possible.
Lastly, he added that we should focus on the well-being of children, mainly when it came to the health department since this was the base for a successful lifelong trajectory of our future.
He emphasized that a part of these changes should be strengthening an average household unit in any way possible because if a family had unobstructed access to the health benefits, the children would live a more productive and healthier life.
The Alaska Children’s Trust outlined crucial points the authorities should focus on during 2020 — investing in the early childhood health care, getting rid of the unnecessary needs such as the need for clothing, but focus on improving the state of the health care and strengthening each household unit. They added that they were hoping for more noticeable results in 2020.