CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The West Virginia Kids Count released a 2021 data book with economic well-being, health, education, and family and community statistics on the West Virginia youth. This year a state youth advisory council was created to share personal experiences to help shape this data.
“Sometimes it feels like academic opportunity isn’t always there. Looking at other states, it’s easy for our state to feel behind, especially comparing tests and things like that. With other states we do fall short, and sometimes there’s definitely the opioid epidemic, and drug use that hurts our state, and especially our youth,” said Sidney Megna, Youth Advisory Council of West Virginia Kids Count.
The state ranks 43rd lowest in the country for overall child well-being. On a positive note, according to West Virginia Kids Count 2021 data, students are graduating with a high school diploma at an increasing rate, and employment and vaccination rates have increased as well.
The data educates state legislators, public officials, and child advocates with reliable data to help better the livelihoods of the future of the state… our kids. I spoke with the Executive Director of West Virginia Kids Count, Tricia Kingery, and she says what she hopes this data achieves.
“By lifting these folks up statewide, we can do that, we can show every child that they too can be happy, healthy, and successful here in West Virginia, and hopefully stay,” said Tricia Kingery, Executive Director of West Virginia Kids Count.
“Our state is such a tight-knit community and it’s really good to have that to fall back on, and you always know somebody has your back,” said Megna.
Diversity and inclusion program manager, Kasidi Legg from West Virginia, hopes young people in the Mountain State stay here for the future.
“So many of my friends I grew up with were out of here. Just seeing the decline of the well-being of children each year, it really is important to be that one extra person. To be here in whatever capacity you can do here in West Virginia. That’s an opportunity for a kid and that’s setting the map for the future,” said Kasidi Legg, Diversity and Inclusion Program Manager of West Virginia Kids Count.
For breaking news delivered to you, subscribe to WFXR’s breaking news email list
Get breaking news, weather, and sports delivered to your smartphone with the WFXR News app available on Apple and Android.