Arkansas Ranking in Children's Well-Being Unchanged from Last Year

LITTLE ROCK, AR - In an annual state-by-state ranking of the well-being of children in the United States, Arkansas hasn't budged from the near-the-bottom spot it held last year, 45th.  The Annie E. Casey Foundation's annual "Kids Count" rankings, released today, show Arkansas faring the same overall in comparison to other states.

South Carolina, New Mexico, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi fared worse than Arkansas.  Overall, Minnesota's children enjoyed the best circumstances.

Rich Huddleston, director of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, says a collaborative effort is needed to improve the lives of Arkansas children so the state can move out of the bottom ten in ranking.  He said that effort would have to include the governor's office, legislators, nonprofits like his organization and community leaders.

The foundation based its latest rankings on 2004 and 2005 figures in ten categories it called "indicators" of a child's well-being.  They include children living in poverty, infant mortality, child deaths, high school dropouts, and low birth weight babies.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)