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Aug 17, 2011 7:06 PM by Melissa Hawkes

Louisiana Ranks 49th in Overall Child Well-Being

A new study reveals Louisiana is one of the worst states for overall child well being. The 2011 Kids Count national study ranks Louisiana 49th in children's overall well-being. It doesn't surprise Picard Center Executive Director, Dr. Billy Stokes. A major reason is because a child's well-being is a direct reflection of the states consistently high poverty rate.

Stokes said, "there's no doubt about it, children born into poverty are handicapped right from the beginning."

First Steps Director, Betty Blaize, said there are a number of things children born into poverty miss out on.

She said, "they don't get nutrition, healthcare or educational opportunities they need."

A child's well being isn't the only thing affected by improper care, their brain development is also greatly impacted.

Blaize said, "children who are not responded to on a regular basis or have a mother who doesn't know how to properly take care of a baby, that all affects brain development."

Ninety percent of a child's brain is developed by the time they are five years old.

"It behooves us to look at this brain development and think about putting more money into the child-care arena," she said.

Stokes said, "those are the years when all the brain functions are being formed and children can really make substantial progress in developing their language, which ends up being the basis of their intelligence."

Research shows good child-care can make a big difference in a child's brain capacity. You can call First Steps at (866) 374-9460 to see how your child-care center ranks nationally.

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