PHOENIX - When it comes to the well-being of our children Arizona has a lot of work to do, according to a new Kids Count report out Wednesday.
The 2012 Kids Count Data Book was released Wednesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. There's an interactive tool online that let's you compare each state.
Kids Count combines different factors to come up with these rankings, including education, health, and the economy.
Arizona has moved down nine spots from last year in terms of the overall well-being of children.
The report shows that conditions for Arizona children worsened in seven out of 16 categories since 2005, including the number of children living in poverty and teenagers who neither are in school nor working.
Arizona ranks 46th overall. Our state was 37th last year .
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According to this report, Arizona is among the worst five states when it comes to the percentage of kids living in high-poverty areas.
About one in four children live in poverty in our state.
"When the DES childcare subsidy froze we lost about 20 families, " said Lori Stinson, education director for
Phoenix Day, a childcare center that caters to many lower income families. She said it is tough when she knows the parents have to take their kids out because they can't afford it and really they have no where else to turn.
"Arizona is at the bottom," said Bruce Liggett with the Arizona Child Care Association. "The problem with these annual reports is they become the news of the day and then it dies down. We need a sustained effort."
Liggett said the solution needs to come from legislative measures and even from voters.
"This needs to become a priority," he said.
Arizona is also among the worst fives states for education with 27-percent of high schoolers not graduating on time and only 26-percent of 8th graders proficient in math.
The report wasn't all negative.
Arizona did show improvements in health care and in decreasing the number of teen births.
The report said most children in Arizona are covered by health insurance. Only 16-percent are not.
The president and chief executive of Children's Action Alliance says the economic recession is partly to blame.
The states that ranked below Arizona overall are: Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico and Mississippi.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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