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Connecticut News

Save The Children: U.S. Ranks 36 In ‘End Of Childhood’ Index

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Save the Children
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Alayshia, age 8, from South Carolina.

Connecticut-based Save the Children says the U.S. is on par with developing nations when it comes to protecting children. On Wednesday the organization released its first ever End of Childhood Report

It ranks 172 countries based on life events that Save the Children calls childhood “enders.” They include extreme violence, malnutrition and child labor.   

The U.S. ranks 36th, right between Bosnia and Russia. 

Bill Corwin, vice president of U.S. Programs for Save the Children, says this ranking puts the U.S. on par with developing nations, especially when it comes to teen pregnancy.  

“The teen birth rate has actually declined by more than 60 percent in the past 25 years, which is obviously good news, but it’s still higher than the rate of most industrialized nations. It’s about two-and-a-half times that of France and five times of that of Japan or the Netherlands.”

Save the Children also looked at childhood conditions on the state level in the U.S. It ranked the states by similar factors like food insecurity, failure to complete high school and homicide rates.

Many states in the Northeast topped the list.

Connecticut ranked 6. New York ranked 11. Corwin attributes the high rankings to investment in more social programs that support children and families.  

“Whether that’s preschool services or after school and out of school activities as well as children’s health issues, those are typically going to be the ones that have better outcomes, where kids are actually able to have a childhood that is a time where they can learn, grow, play, feel protected, feel safe and have the opportunity to really reach their full potential.”

Right now funding for many of these programs are facing severe cuts. In Connecticut, lawmakers are struggling to close large budget deficits and that has caused many social programs to scale back their budgets.    

On the national level, Corwin says the Trump administration’s proposed federal budget could eliminate some programs entirely.  

“For example, the after school program funded by something called 21st Century Community Learning Centers, has been zeroed out in the proposed budget for 2018. There are things here I think we need to fight for, we need to make sure that children truly are the priority that I think people give lip service to but often times don’t follow through enough on.”    

Corwin says a vital step to preserving childhood in the U.S. and abroad is early intervention.   

We know through research that’s done by a Nobel Prize-winning economist, Professor Hechtman at the University of Chicago, that really for every dollar you’re going to invest in very early services for children, the return in either social savings or revenue is going to be about 7 or 8 dollars for every dollar you invest.  

This is the first year these reports have been released. Save the Children says it will continue to track this data that affects 700 million children in need worldwide. They will publish their findings on an annual basis.