Action for Children in the News
A new children's health study released Thursday shows that almost
one in 10 children in North Carolina go without health insurance.
The 2009 Child Health Report Card
looked at trends over the past few years and shows that unhealthy
weight, access to medical care and poverty are the main concerns to
children in North Carolina.
About 20 percent of the 2.2 million
children in the state live in poverty. The percentage of children
without health insurance gets much higher in low-income families.
use of alcohol, at 37 percent, and marijuana, at 19 percent, by high
school students has remained high. However, tobacco use among high
school students has dropped significantly.
The study also found that one in four children from ages 2 to 8 are overweight, despite steps to tackle childhood obesity.
The 2009 North Carolina Child Health Report Card, issued jointly
today by the North Carolina Institute of Medicine and Action for
Children North Carolina, indicates that while the health and safety of
the state's children and youth have improved in many areas, there is
still cause for concern.
Data from the Report Card highlight the following challenges facing North Carolina's children:
Approximately 20% of North Carolina's 2.2 million children (ages
0-17) continue to live in poverty, providing a serious challenge to the
health of children across the state.
Almost 1-in-10 children (ages 0-17) are still without health
insurance. However, significant investments in public health insurance
coverage have reduced the uninsured rate for children, despite the
continued losses in employer-based coverage.
Access to medical care, particularly for children in low-income
families, has improved significantly, but remains a concern. Access to
dental care for these children has improved dramatically, but still
lags well behind access to medical care.
The percentage of children who are overweight continues to worsen
despite recent efforts to combat this problem. Almost 1-in-4 children
(ages 2-18) are overweight.
While efforts to decrease tobacco use among high school students
have been successful, the use of alcohol (37%), marijuana (19%) and
other illicit substances remains unacceptably high.
The infant death rate has declined, and the overall child death rate
is at an historic low; however, child abuse homicide remains a
particularly tragic indicator of the need to provide more support for
families. In 2008, there were 33 child abuse homicide deaths.
This is the 15th annual Child Health Report Card, which measures progress in 15 indicators from 2000-2008.
To view a copy of the report click here.
This article is a reference to an external source. For more information, or to view the story in it's entirety please visit http://www.ncchild.org/action/images/stories/PDFs/2009%20Health%20Report%20Card_10-12-09.pdf
By many measures, North Carolina's children are leading healthier lives than they did eight years ago, an advocacy group reported Thursday.
More poor children now have access to health care and dental care, fewer teenage girls are getting pregnant, and fewer youngsters are exposed to lead, according to Action for Children North Carolina, which has published a child health report card for 15 years.
The group, along with the N.C. Institute of Medicine, credited a number of state policies that have improved health, including an expanded health insurance plan that covers more children in low-income households.
Still, the report stated that North Carolina has much room for improvement. Although the infant mortality rate has dipped, it remains higher than the national average, with eight babies dying for every 1,000 live births in North Carolina. Nationally, the rate is less than seven deaths for every 1,000 live births.
And some bad problems in North Carolina got worse. In particular, the percentage of low-income children who are obese rose in every age group, with 26 percent of poor youngsters ages 5 to 11 considered obese, and 29 percent of teenagers ages 12 to 18 obese.
Too few children are physically active, as well.
To read more about the results, go to www.ncchild.org
Raleigh - The annual Child Health Report Card said children in the
state are getting more access to medical and dental care but too many
are overweight, use alcohol or tobacco or suffer abuse. The findings
examined trends from 2000 through 2008. The advocacy group Action for
Children and the North Carolina Institute for Medicine assemble the
A new report says North Carolina children are getting more access to medical and dental care but too many are overweight, use alcohol or tobacco or suffer abuse.
The findings of the annual North Carolina Child Health Report Card released Thursday examined trends from 2000 through 2008. The advocacy group Action for Children and the North Carolina Institute for Medicine assemble the report.
The report credits a smaller percentage of uninsured children to enrollment increases in public health insurance programs like NC Health Choice. The report also gave high grades to the state because children are born with a low number of communicable diseases and many are screened for lead poisoning.
Barbara Bradley with Action for Children says other data reflect "continued unacceptable risks" for young people.
This Associated Press article appeared in numerous media outlets across the state, including:
The Daily Advance
Hickory Daily Record
WBT Charlotte radio
Blue Ridge Now
Morganton News Herald
The Myrtle Beach Sun News
WMBF News - Myrtle Beach
Rocky Mount Telegram
Greenville Daily Reflector
Greensboro News & Record
North Carolina News Network
by Ellen Reinhardt
A coalition of children's advocacy groups is calling for an increase in federal and state spending on programs for children. Action for Children North Carolina found that in recent years both state and federal funding for children's programs has declined.
Barbara Bradley, President and CEO of Action for Children North Carolina, said they found over the past five years, on the federal level, total spending on children's education has dropped almost 10%, for child welfare over 11 and a half percent and for youth training, federal spending has dropped 15%.
The numbers are not much better at the state level. Bradley said, with the exception of education and health, spending
has decreased on childrens' programs in North Carolina for the last eight years.
She said federal and state officials need to invest more in programs that have been shown to work, such as North
Carolina's Smart Start program. She admited that to do that, lawmakers will have to raise revenue. The groups are not
recommending how that money should be raised, but Bradley said it is essential to the future economic success of our
state to ensure that children are getting everything they need to succeed.
Elon University Pendulum
by Jake Martin
Say goodbye to novelty lighters. Among the new state laws effective
throughout North Carolina on Oct. 1, which include a ban on plastic
bottles in landfills and exemptions for hunting licenses determined by
the Wildlife Resources Commission concerning special events, is a
prohibition on the sale of novelty lighters.
"Many of the laws we push forward can be really educational for both
parents and children," said Tom Vitaglione, co-chairman of the state
The N.C. Child Fatality Task Force recommended that prohibiting the
sale of novelty lighters is just another step in the effort to curb
"As a study commission, we take a look at what kills children, and
anything we push forward works to cut that down," Vitaglione said.
"It's all of these little pieces put together over time that keep our
children safer. We think of the victory for the children and their
Novelty lighters are typically used to light cigarettes, pipes or
cigars. They can resemble anything from a cartoon character to a toy,
gun or musical instrument. One of the more prevalent complaints
concerning the sale of such products is its target toward children.
"Punitive actions aren't really the point when it comes to these types
of laws," Vitaglione said. "It's to get parents thinking and to keep
children safe. The truth is, we do see an overall change in behavior
when these kinds of laws are passed."
Another area the new state laws affect concerns hunting licensing,
directed by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. The new law will
allow the commission to grant exemptions from hunting licenses for
special events the commission deems consistent with conservational
"The deal was put in at our request originally in 2008, but it did not
get put through," said Brad Gunn, section manager of administration and
planning at the commission. "We wanted to do what we could for hunting
as we had done for fishing, and that was to facilitate things to get
more people out there."
The state will also begin inspecting landfills across North Carolina as
the law to ban plastic bottles from landfills comes into effect. North
Carolina is the first Southeastern state to pass such a ban, but it is
unlikely individuals will be fined for trashing plastic bottles unless
they are found disposing of a large amount.
Nearly 95 new laws took effect Oct. 1, many of them designed to further
protect individuals from anything between foreclosures and identity
Other bills passed this year that took effect Oct. 1
Beer tasting at retail stores will be allowed and breweries can have tastings and sales at festivals and conventions.
Musicians can be fined with penalties of up to $15,000 from
concertgoers if they use a musical group's name without the original
Municipalities will be allowed to object to the site of an ABC store.
Local governments will be allowed to regulate golf carts on their streets and roads.
From time to time a debate breaks out over whether our society is coddling our children a bit too much. Of course, this is a debate likely engaged in by every generation from time immemorial.
What might set this generation aside is the level of warnings of particular dangers to childhood life and limb. Danger signs, ad campaigns, constant reminders of the perils of biking or crossing the street are everywhere.
And it turns out they’re working.
The North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force announced Monday that the fatality rate for the state’s children dipped under 5 percent last year. It’s the lowest rate since record-keeping on child deaths began.
The rate, 71 deaths per 100,000 children, was an improvement on the rate of 75.1 deaths a year earlier. Actual deaths dropped from 1,649 in 2007 to 1,573 in 2008.
What’s remarkable is the change from a couple of decades ago. Last year’s numbers were fully one-third lower than the rate of child deaths in 1990, when the death rate was 107 per 100,000 children.
Tom Vitaglione, co-chairman of the task force, told The Associated Press, “We’re very pleased. That’s encouraging stuff, but we still have a long way to go.”
It certainly is encouraging. Essentially it means that 800 more Tar Heel kids are surviving annually since 1990's data.
There’s a reason for that: Part of it is regulation, but a huge player is education.
Deaths caused in motor vehicle-related incidents dropped 13 percent from 2007 to 2008, and a key contributor to that decline is child booster seat and seat belt laws. An even more obvious regulatory improvement shows up when it comes to bicycling deaths, which hit 18 before a law was passed in 2001 mandating children under 16 wear protective headgear. Last year, bicycling accidents caused three deaths.
Deaths related to fires have also dropped, and here those warnings to check the smoke alarm batteries when we set our clocks back and forward have undoubtedly helped.
Infant deaths were down 3.7 percent last year, with most of that coming from a drop in deaths related to low birth weight and premature deliveries. Given that premature births are up 30 percent across the country in the last two decades, that number is particularly encouraging, and surprising.
Also surprising, but not encouraging, is the number of sudden infant death syndrome fatalities, which jumped from 98 in 2007 to 137 last year. The task force is planning a closer look at that rise.
Overall, the state needs to do better, as we are tied for 22nd in the country for death rates involving children up to age 14.
But the new numbers are welcome. We may worry that we’re sheltering our kids too much, and that’s a legitimate debate to have. We do know one thing, though: We can’t coddle them if they’re not around to coddle, and we’re happy to see we’re doing a much better job of that.
by Richard Craver
The number of North Carolinians going without health insurance was
rising significantly even before the recession began taking its toll on
the job market, according to a Census Bureau report released yesterday.
About 1.4 million North Carolinians under age 65 - or one in six - went without health coverage in 2007 and 2008.
that the state’s unemployment rate has nearly doubled in the past 12
months to 11 percent in July, health-care analysts say that it is
highly likely more residents are lacking coverage this year.
and more North Carolinians are losing their jobs and their insurance,”
said Adam Searing, the director of the Health Access Coalition for the
N.C. Justice Center. “We must ensure that these families have access to
affordable, quality health coverage regardless of age or health status.”
percentage of uninsured North Carolinians rose to 15.4 percent for
2007-08 compared with 13.4 percent for 2000-01. For those under 65, the
percentage is 17.4 percent.
About 65 percent of residents were
covered by private insurance. All but 1 percent of North Carolinians
age 65 and older had health coverage, primarily through Medicare and
The bureau will release similar data at the county and metropolitan statistical area level on Sept. 22.
about 46.3 million Americans - or 15.4 percent - lacked coverage in
2007-08. For those under age 65, the number is 17.3 percent.
new Census Bureau report should give Congress an even greater sense of
urgency to enact high-quality, affordable health coverage and care for
all Americans this year,” said Ron Pollack, the executive director of
Families USA, a consumer-advocacy group in Washington.
USA reported in April that more than one out of three North Carolinians
younger than 65 went without health insurance at some point in either
2007 or 2008.
“Based on previous analyses, each 1
percentage-point increase in the unemployment rate means approximately
1.1 million additional people joined the ranks of the uninsured,”
“As a result, the number of uninsured today is probably close to 50 million.”
Graybill, a hospital consultant and health-care analyst with Mercer,
said that “the real issue is how many of these folks have an option -
Medicaid or employer plan - and choose not to take for various reasons.”
hot-button issue regarding health-care reform is whether some small
businesses would encourage, or even dump, employees onto a government
insurance plan if the option is made available.
According to an
article in The New York Times, workers could buy coverage on their own
from a proposed government plan, with those with low incomes getting
federal aid. Most employers would pay a tax penalty of 8 percent of its
payroll if they opt out of providing coverage.
A 2008 report by
the Kaiser Family Foundation found that only 62 percent of small
businesses - defined as up to 199 employees - offer health benefits. By
comparison, the foundation found that virtually all employers with 200
or more workers offer some kind of health benefits.
Families USA reported that the cost of buying family health-care
insurance for North Carolina workers soared nearly 100 percent this
The group reported that premiums have risen 96.8 percent
from 2000 to 2009, while the median earnings for workers climbed 18.4
percent - representing a fivefold increase.
The increase in
uninsured North Carolinians is one reason why Blue Cross Blue Shield
N.C. strongly supports health reform, said Lew Borman, a
corporate-communications official for the insurer.
insurance to work properly, everyone must participate,” Borman said,
“Otherwise, healthy people will drop out and obtain insurance only when
they are sick or injured.
“We believe that government needs to
play a role - to assist Americans who today cannot afford health
insurance on the private market.”
Barb Bradley, the president
and chief executive of Action for Children N.C., said that 93 percent
of N.C. children who live in a household under 200 percent of the
federal poverty line have health coverage. That limit is $42,400 for a
family of four.
The coverage is either provided through Medicaid
or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which is funded in
large part through a 62-cent federal tax on cigarettes.
said that N.C. Kids’ Care, a program passed by the General Assembly in
2007 but not yet implemented, would extend government-subsidized
insurance to children in families up to 250 percent of the federal
by Gary Robertson
Fewer N.C. children died last year than the year before, sending the child death rate to an all-time recorded low, a state legislative panel announced Monday. Data reflected better prevention of deaths in car wrecks and other accidents.
The fatality rate for children ages 17 and under fell 5 percent during 2008 to 71 deaths per 100,000 children, according to state statistics released by the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force.
The rate, based on 1,573 actual child deaths last year, compares to the 1,649 deaths in 2007, or a rate of 75.1 deaths per 100,000.
North Carolina has 2.2 million residents under age 18. While the 2007 rate represented an increase compared to the previous year, the overall rate has fallen by one-third since 1990.
Leaders of the panel, composed of child advocates and researchers, law enforcement and human service officials and lawmakers, attributed the drop to the passage of child-safety legislation, increased state spending on child initiatives and parental awareness of dangers.
Given the current population, the two-decade decline means about 800 more children survive annually compared to the high of 107 deaths per 100,000 children back in 1991.
“We're very pleased,” said Tom Vitaglione, co-chairman of the task force, which makes recommendations to the General Assembly on legislation to protect children. “That's encouraging stuff, but we still have a long way to go.”
North Carolina is tied for 22nd in a ranking of the states' death rates for children up to age 14, according to 2005 statistics compiled by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
In the task force report, the number of infant fatalities, which are two-thirds of all child deaths, fell by 3.7 percent in 2008, led by a 9 percent drop in deaths related to premature deliveries and low birth weights. It wasn't immediately clear what caused the decline. Premature births have increased 36 percent nationwide since the early 1980s, according to the March of Dimes.
Panel members meeting Monday were surprised by a 39 percent increase in sudden infant death syndrome, from 98 deaths in 2007 to 136 last year. The task force plans to study the reason for the jump, which Vitaglione said could be attributed to misreporting or less spending on public awareness campaigns.
“That's the thing with an education campaign – you have to sustain it, because new parents are coming along all the time,” said Anna Bess Brown, program services director for the March of Dimes in North Carolina.
The number of motor vehicle-related deaths fell last year by 13 percent, from 142 deaths to 123. Fewer cars on the road due to higher gas prices and improved child booster seat and seat-belt laws lobbied for by the panel have helped reduce the rate, Vitaglione said.
Fire-related deaths declined 29 percent, from 24 to 17. The three deaths attributed to bicycle injuries is much lower than the 18 previously reached before a 2001 law was passed that required children under 16 to wear bicycle helmets, the task force said.
There were 18 poisoning deaths, which remains around the five-year average. Many of them are attributed to drug overdoses. There's been more concern about teens ingesting their parents' prescription drugs.
“Those numbers really pale in comparison to the number of (overdose) attempts,” said Rep. Jennifer Weiss, D-Wake, a panel member, adding that parents need more educational information about keeping their prescriptions away from children.
Fifty-eight children died in homicides, compared to the five-year average of 63 victims. The report came on the same day as a 15-year-old pregnant girl was shot and killed as she waited at school bus stop in Charlotte.