County high in teen births

Published 1:29 pm Monday, October 27, 2008

By By Lisa Tindell and Kerry Whipple
Expanding programs for children can help combat poverty - which local pediatrician Dr. Marsha Raulerson believes is “poison to the young mind.”
Escambia County ranks 41st in the state for child well-being, according to statistics released earlier this month by VOICES for Alabama's Children, a statewide advocacy group. Raulerson is president of the organization's board, which publishes its Kids Count data every year.
But Raulerson noted there are still problems among the statistics, including the number of children in poverty.
Raulerson said supporting programs that help children and families can help reverse the statistics.
Raulerson said area childcare facilities and programs such as Head Start, the Family Resource Center, Wheels of Wellness, YMCA and other childcare programs are important, as well as the Child Advocacy Center, the family drug court and the Coalition for a Healthier Escambia County.
Raulerson also recommended that the Brewton area needs an early Head Start program for pregnant women and their children starting at six weeks of age. “The best time to treat a problem is to prevent it,” she said.
Escambia County was ranked in the top 17 counties in the state for its graduation rate.
The Kids Count data tracks statistics such as child poverty, graduation rates, juvenile crime and infant mortality.
Alabama ranks 47th in the nation for child welfare.

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