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Recent Budget Cuts to Essential Services Jeopardize North Carolina Children’s Opportunities for Success  

(Raleigh, N.C.)-North Carolina’s investments in children and youth have fallen short in recent budget years, a fact which may undermine the future economic competitiveness of the state, according to a new release from Action for Children North Carolina.

The reportPublic Investments Matter for Child Well-Being: Smart State Policy Can Change Lives, uses analysis from the Foundation for Child Development’s 2012 State Child Well-Being Index, a comprehensive, state-by-state measure of children’s quality-of-life, to create a local look at how children in North Carolina fared during recent budget decisions. The report finds that children were a low-priority during North Carolina’s 2011-13 budget biennium.

“More than two-thirds of public resources invested in children occur at the state-level, giving states significant influence over efforts to improve the well-being of children and youth.” said Barb Bradley, President & CEO of Action for Children North Carolina, a statewide research and advocacy organization. “And yet, cuts made during the 2011-13 budget biennium weakened the very structures that serve to support our children’s healthy growth and development: education, access to preventive health services and assistance to families who have fallen on difficult times.”

Although North Carolina routinely ranks among the best states for business-friendly environments, it consistently ranks among the worst states for children’s outcomes. Investments in child well-being not only support children’s immediate quality-of-life, they improve the state’s overall economic competitiveness by generating the highly-skilled workforce required to compete, and win, in the 21st century global economy.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Public investments can impact child well-being. The amount of public investments has been found to be highly related to states’ overall child well-being scores.
  • Revenue matters.  When states generate resources to support policies and programs that preserve children’s well-being, children experience better outcomes.
  • Recent budget cuts threaten North Carolina’s future prosperity. Cuts throughout North Carolina’s education continuum, from pre-kindergarten to post-secondary education, jeopardize the quality of education provided in North Carolina, and undermine the state’s ability to build the workforce of tomorrow.

“Now is not the time to divest from the policies and programs that help preserve our children’s quality of life,” said Bradley. “Instead, our elected leaders must make smarter choices that prioritize the well-being of children and youth and protect the future prosperity of our state.”

The report offers several recommendations to restore investments in children and put North Carolina’s economy back on track.

Public Investments Matter for Child Well-Being: Smart State Policy Can Change Lives, is available on Action for Children North Carolina’s website at www.ncchild.org 

Click here to view a brief fact sheet about this report, Building Brighter Futures Renewing North Carolina’s Commitment to Children and Youth

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