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New report examines Ellis County children

Statewide, maternal and infant health are improving, as more women are receiving prenatal care, infant mortality is improving, and teen births are continuing to decline, according to a new report by the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP).
The report, The State of Texas Children 2007, provides the latest look at the well-being of children in every county in Texas.
“The report finds that when it comes to maternal and infant health, Texas has much to be thankful for,” said Frances Deviney, Texas Kids Count Director. “At the same time, work remains in other areas. Statewide, child poverty is up for the fifth straight year, unemployment has increased, and Texas continues to have the highest rates of uninsured children in the nation.”
State and Ellis County findings include the following:
• In Ellis County, the proportion of women receiving little or no prenatal care decreased by 33 percent since 2002. As of 2004, 488 babies (or 24.4 percent of all births) were born to women who received little or no prenatal care, ranking the county 148 of Texas’ 254 counties. Nearly one in four babies statewide is born to mothers who receive little or no prenatal care.
• In Ellis County, the infant mortality rate has remained stable 19 percent since since 2000. As of 2004, 10 babies died prematurely, ranking Ellis County 126 of the 254 counties. Statewide, infant mortality has increased by 8.6 percent since 2000.
• In Ellis County, the rate of babies born to teens declined by 11 percent since 2000. As of 2004, 306 babies were born to Ellis County teens, ranking Ellis County 83 of the 254 counties. However, Texas still has the highest teen birth rate in the country. Statewide, births to teens ages 13-19 have declined by 10.3 percent since 2000.
These findings follow a recent Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) survey of new Texas mothers that finds that statewide, new mothers are engaging in healthier behaviors:
• The percentage of Texas women who drank alcohol during the last three months of their pregnancy dropped by 8.3 percent from 2002 to 2003.
• The percent of Texas mothers who breastfed or pumped breast milk to feed their baby after delivery increased by 2.3 percent from 2002 to 2003 (from 74.8 to 76.5 percent).
• The percentage of Texas women who were slightly or moderately depressed in the months after delivery increased by 1.23 percent from 48.5 percent in 2002 to 49.1 percent in 2003.
Other findings for Ellis County were that:
• 34.4 percent of Ellis County children live in poverty, ranking Ellis County 238 of the 254 counties. The child poverty rate has increased by 155 in Ellis County since 2000.
• The proportion of Ellis County’s total population living in poverty has increased by 13 percent since 2000, ranking Ellis County 26 of 245 counties. As of 2004, 13,966 people, or 10.6 percent of the population, live in poverty.
• Death rate for Ellis County children ages 1-14 dropped 66 percent since 2000. There were 3 deaths (or 10.5 per 100,000 children) in 2005, ranking Ellis County 111 out of 254 counties.
• The rate of violent deaths for teens ages 15-19 declined 64 percent since 2000, with 4 deaths (or 34.4 per 100,000 teens) in 2005. Ellis County ranks 140 out of 254 counties.
Proposed policy solutions include:
• Increase outreach about Texas’ new perinatal program. The program is expected to provide health coverage to 35,000 low-income women under the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
• Develop a work support system that enables working families to meet their basic needs.
• Ensure that families remain eligible for public assistance until they earn enough to meet their basic needs. Poverty is one of the biggest predictors of infant mortality and other health and societal ills.
• Make higher education more accessible and affordable for Texans. Increase commitment to community colleges and ensure that higher education remains affordable.
• Expand job training and career development opportunities for working adults. Make work pay with policies that help low-wage workers move into jobs with living wages.
To learn how Ellis County, as a whole, fared across all indicators visit www.cppp.org/factbook07.

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Posted by on Nov 23 2007. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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