TN, GA rank in bottom third in child welfare report - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

TN, GA rank in bottom third in child welfare report

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CHATTANOOGA (AP) - A national report shows Tennessee has improved how it takes care of its children, while Georgia has a way to go.

The report released Wednesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation ranks Tennessee 39th in child well-being.

The annual survey by the Baltimore-based group shows Georgia improving in some areas but remaining at No. 42 overall for the third straight year.

Linda O'Neal, executive director of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, says the ranking is the state's best ever and "first above the 40s." She says it's evidence that public policies and public-private and state-local partnerships serving children are producing improved outcomes.

Tennessee improved in five areas: infant mortality, child death, teen death, teen birth and percent of teens not in school and not high school graduates.

It dropped in the percent of children in poverty and those in single-parent families.

Tennessee made improvements despite challenges of the recession, which the report said affected most states.

Georgia ranks 46th in the country for low-birth-weight babies; 41st for children in single-parent homes, and 42nd in infant mortality.

Gaye Smith, executive director of the Georgia Family Connection Partnership, says Georgia has made progress in some areas, including a declining teen birth rate that now ranks 38th in the country, but she says an increase in low birth-weight babies is a big concern.

The survey shows nearly 570,000 children living in poverty in the Georgia.           

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