Athens Review, Athens, Texas

June 28, 2013

Kids count

HC struggling with maternal and infant health

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — The latest edition of a statewide study on maternal and infant health reveals that Henderson County is still struggling in several categories.

The report released this week by the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities, is called The State Of Texas Children 2012. The non-partisan research organization evaluates children in numerous categories. Most of the figures come from state agencies.

Kids Count Director Francis Deviney said the statistics are broken down to show how the state and each individual county ranks in those areas.  The study lists data from 2006 through 2010 and can be used to show how trends develop over time.

“The goal is to make the information easy to access, because there are many individuals and non-profit organizations that need it,” Deviney said. “They might need to talk to parents at a PTA meeting, trustees at a school board, or write a grant proposal to get funds they need.”

Henderson County’s child population, which includes those birth through age 17, was 17,842 in 2010. It marked the first increase since 2006, when the number was 18,311.

The report stated that 30.5 percent of the county’s children lived in single-parent families between 2006 and 2010. The percentage had been 33 percent for the previous five years. The percentage for the state was 29.6 percent.

The study reported that 3.1 percent of Henderson County children live in constant poverty.  The state rate is 17 percent.

The total of children in foster care dropped from 184 to 165 from 2010 to 2011.  The total had been 237 in 2007.

Confirmed victims of child abuse dropped from 366 to 319 from 2010 to 2011, continuing a trend that began in 2007.

The most recent data on births to teen mothers was in 2008. The numbers showed a steady decrease from 2005, dropping from 879 to 824.