Growing up in Winnebago County can be tough for many kids, that according to the latest Illinois Kids Count survey.
While our area is making a lot of headway, there are still many trouble spots.
Childhood is supposed to be a time of sweet fun, critical development and experimentation. But many Winnebago County kids face challenges at an early age that some people never see in a lifetime.
"There are many children ages birth through five within Rockford District 205 who could benefit from services, who are not getting them," said Judy Johnson, Rockford Public Schools Early Childhood.
The latest Kids Count survey shows that Winnebago County's rate of child abuse is almost 12 out of every 1,000 kids, close to double the state average.
And on the education front, the county's graduate rate is just under 80 percent while the state average is three percentage points higher. Poverty is also a growing concern.
Experts say Early Childhood Development programs can improve the quality of life for area kids. While these programs are often the targets of budget cuts, many say they actually save the state money.
"What we know early childhood development does is prevent very costly services down the road. So for every dollar spent on early childhood education, calculate a seven dollar savings down the road," Johnson said.
The study did reveal some bright spots. The number of kids with health insurance continues to climb and the number of children receiving welfare is falling.
But the survey says there is still a lot of building and improvement to be done to help for Stateline kids.
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Source: www.aecf.org (The Anne E. Casey Foundation Web site) contributed to this report.