January 29, 2004

Scotland County Ranked 44 In Missouri KIDS COUNT Report

Scotland County made a giant step forward in childrens health issues according to Data compiled by Citizens for Missouris Children (CMC) in the groups annual KIDS COUNT data book.

The compilation of statistical indicators, showed that Scotland County is ranked 44 among the 115 Missouri counties and the City of St. Louis based on scores in 10 separate childrens health issues.

The region improved from the 66th ranking record in 2002 after experiencing better results in eight of the 10 categories.

Scotland County received declining scores in the areas of students enrolled in free/reduced lunch program and in the child abuse and neglect case.

With 294 students eligible for the lunch funding program due to low family income levels, Scotland County was ranked 53rd. That number increased from 261 students in the program last year, dropping Scotland County three spots in the rankings.

The region reported 30 cases of child abuse or neglect during the reporting period, up from 23 cases the year before. Despite the increase Scotland County still had the second lowest totals in the state.

Scotland County also was the second rated county in Missouri in the low birthweight infants category. The region moved up 19 spots to the second ranking when the number of low birthweight infants dropped from 23 to 13 during the current recording period.

Scotland County was in the top 10 in two other areas, narrowly missing out in a third. With just three high school dropouts last year Scotland County ranked ninth in Missouri with a 1.4 percent ranking. The state average is 3.7 percent.

The area was ranked 10th in the number of births to teens. Mothers between the ages of 15-19 had just four babies in Scotland County. In 2002 Scotland County was ranked 44th in this category.

With just one infant death between 1998-2002, Scotland County ranked 11th overall in the infant mortality rate based per 1,000 live births.

The final four scores helped drop the overall county ranking to 44th.

With seven out of home placements, Scotland County ranked 60th in the category. That still represented an improvement from 2002 when the number was double, ranking Scotland County 98th.

Scotland County was 70th in violent deaths for teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19. Between 1998 and 2002 there were two such deaths in Scotland County. The score in the category is based per 100,000. At 102.6 Scotland County scored above the state average score of 77.5.

The regions two worst scores came in the areas of child deaths (ages 1-14) and births to mothers without high school diplomas.

While the first ranking is obviously alarming, the second is more of a statistical anomaly.

With three deaths of children under the age of 14 during the recording period from 1998-2002, Scotland Countys score was nearly double the state average per 100,000. That ranked the region 108th among the 115 counties.

Scotland County continued to rank last in the number of births to mothers without high school diplomas. While the region ranks among the best in the state for fewest high school dropouts and births to teens, it ranks the worst in this category. The issue arises because of the countys large Mennonite population, which does not attend Missouri public schools and thus does not receive high school diplomas from the state. Thus every child born to a Mennonite mother is born to a mother without a high school diploma.

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