Carolinas rank low in Kids Count child well-being report

Published 10:28 am Friday, August 24, 2012

Despite some improvements, North Carolina and South Carolina still rank low for child well-being, according to the 2012 Kids Count report released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The report, based on a broad range of indicators, ranks North Carolina 34th and South Carolina 43rd out of 50 states for overall child well-being. The report found that approximately one in four children in the Carolinas now lives in poverty.
The Kids Count Data Book switched from using 10 indicators to 16, which are grouped into four primary areas. North Carolina ranked 25th in the area of education, 26th in health, 35th in economic well-being and 36th in family and community.
Among the positive indicators for North Carolina, the report found that the number of children without health insurance declined by 20 percent since the start of the recession. The state also showed progress in the area of education, breaking into the top 20 best performing states for fourth-grade reading proficiency and eighth-grade math proficiency.
However, North Carolina did not fare as well in other areas. The number of children living in high-poverty neighborhoods more than doubled over the past decade, rising from 76,000 in 2000 to 212,000 in the most recent data year.
In South Carolina, there was a 31-percent decrease in the number of children without health insurance, a 25-percent decrease in teens who abuse alcohol or drugs and a 15-percent decline in child and teen deaths. The state also had an 8-percent increase in the number of children attending preschool.
However, the latest report also showed the Palmetto State continued to lag behind in many areas. Specifically, the state saw a 23-percent increase in children whose parents lack secure employment and a 13-percent increase in children living in poverty. For a family of four, the poverty threshold is an annual household income of $23,050. The Children’s Trust of South Carolina says research indicates families require on average an income of $46,100, twice the poverty level, in order to cover expenses for food, housing, childcare and transportation. One in every two children in South Carolina live in a household making less than $46,100.
New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont ranked highest in the 2012 Kids Count report, while Nevada, New Mexico and Mississippi ranked lowest. Child poverty rates, which rose in 43 states, ranged from 10 percent in New Hampshire to 33 percent in Mississippi.
– source: Action for Children North Carolina, Children’s Trust of South Carolina, 7-25-12
The S.C. State Ports Authority has approved $25 million to begin work on an inland port in Greer. The new intermodal facility will have the potential to take as many as 50,000 trucks off the highway by sending cargo by rail instead of truck to the port of Charleston.
The Ports Authority, which previously approved a $1.1 million design contract for the inland port, has authorized its president and CEO, Jim Newsome, to enter into contracts for land purchases and swaps with Norfolk Southern, which is partnering on the project.  Newsome said he believes the inland port will be used by BMW, Michelin, Adidas and other companies in the Upstate. The port, located on nearly 50 acres, is expected to be complete within 18 months.
– source:, 8-22-12
Two months after gaining approval from the N.C. legislature, the Harrah’s casino in Cherokee now has live, Vegas-style dealer games. After 15 years with electronic versions of table games, the casino opened a new era when it dealt blackjack last week at 12 tables with live dealers. The new compact approved between the state and the Cherokee tribe directs a portion of the revenue from the new games to the state for education.
– source:, 8-22-12
Numerous colleges in the Carolinas made the 2013 edition of The Best 377 Colleges released by The Princeton Review.
North Carolina colleges included on the list are: Catawba College, Davidson College, Duke University, Elon University, Guilford College, North Carolina State University, UNC-Asheville, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Greensboro, Wake Forest University and Warren Wilson University.
South Carolina colleges on the list are: Clemson University, Wofford College, Furman University, The College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina. The ranking is based on surveys of students. Elon and Wofford made the Princeton Review’s list of “Best-run colleges.” Warren Wilson had the most mentions in individual rankings, making eight lists.
– source:; Burlington Times News, 8-22-12
Duke University Health Systems has launched the first phase of a $500 million plan to upgrade its electronic medical records. The effort, supported by the federal Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009, is expected to shift Duke to a systemwide electronic medical records systems by next June.
The federal government is providing $27 billion in financial incentives for hospitals and physicians to use digital health records. Federal legislation calls for penalties to begin in 2015 for those health systems that do not use digital records. Health officials say the switch to a single digital records system can improve efficiency and patient care. Duke University Health Systems currently operates with more than 135 different electronic medical records systems.
– source:, 7-17-12
The Asheville Wine & Food Festival will be held from August 23-25 at US Cellular Center in downtown Asheville. The festival, named by the New York Post as one of the best festivals of its kind in the country, will showcase regional, national and international wines, local restaurants, craft beer and spirits and handcrafted artisanal foods.
The big event of the festival tis Saturday’s Grand Tasting, which includes cooking demonstrations, a mixology contest, wine competition and opportunities to learn from the area’s internationally recognized culinary experts. On Thursday night, the festival hosts the finale of a competition to name the best chef in the region. On Friday, locally sourced desserts, sparkling wines and spirits will be featured at a gathering at the Grove Arcade.
Asheville has been ranked as a top food and wine destination in the country by The Travelers’ Choice and TripAdvisor. The Huffington Post also named Asheville one of the “Top 10 Undiscovered Local Food Cities.”
The Growing Minds Farm to School Program of the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Program is a beneficiary of this year’s festival. Growing Minds provides resources and training to farmers, teachers, chefs, school nutrition staff, parents and other community members.
– source:

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