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Investing in Public Programs Matters: How State Policies Impact Children’s Lives. 2012 STATE Child and Youth Well-Being Index (CWI)

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Foundation for Child Development

This report shows that a strong relationship exists between children’s well-being and state policies that drive investments in children. Public investments from federal, state, and local governments matter. This report focuses on the results of the STATE CWI, the most comprehensive set of data used to form a state index of child well-being. With these data, the STATE CWI ranks children’s well-being in seven different domains for each state and compares them across states. In addition to state rankings, this report includes new findings about the strength of relationships between state policies and selected economic and demographic factors indicative of child well-being. Key findings from the study demonstrate that: 1) Higher State Taxes Are Better for Children; 2) Public Investments in Children Matter; and 3) A Child’s Well-Being Is Strongly Related to the State Where He or She Lives. This study presents results for 2007, the most recent year for which data are available from the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), the only state-level source for several key indicators of child well-being.

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