[caption id="attachment_19592" align="alignleft"]A new Kids Count data snapshot from the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds a majority of fourth-graders in Minnesota are lagging behind in reading proficiency. Photo credit: USAG-Humphreys[/caption]Reading is the cornerstone of a good education and future success, but in Minnesota and across the country, more young children than not are struggling with it. A new report finds that 59 percent of kids in the state are not proficient in reading when they reach fourth grade. That figure balloons to 77 percent for children from low-income families, according to Peggy Flanagan, executive director of Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota.
[caption id="attachment_19401" align="alignleft"]A study in the journal "Pediatrics" shows some remarkably similar risky behaviors displayed by characters in PG-13- and R-rated movies. CREDIT: Tim Psych[/caption]Many parents would never think of allowing their young teen to see an R-rated movie, but a fresh study shows those films have much of the same type of content as those that are rated PG-13.
Amy Bleakley is a research scientist at the University of Pennsylvania who was a co-author of the study appearing in the latest edition of the journal Pediatrics. She said the PG-13 rating, determined by the Motion Picture Association of America, doesn’t always stop the kind of material parents may think it does.
[caption id="attachment_19397" align="alignleft"]Minnesotans who are looking to make a difference in the new year are being encouraged to consider becoming a mentor for an at-risk child. Photo Courtesy of GMCC[/caption]Those Minnesotans who have resolved to do what they can to make the world a better place in 2014 are being encouraged to consider becoming mentors to young people.
According to Gennea Falconer, director of Kinship of Greater Minneapolis, they currently have around 200 youths in ongoing mentor relationships, but …
[caption id="attachment_19173" align="alignleft"]Economists say, despite what most people think, a huge chunk of the people in this country who make the minimum wage are trying to support children. GRAPHIC by EPI.[/caption]Supporters of raising Minnesota’s minimum wage say the most important group that action would help may be the children of the working poor.
Many think the only people earning minimum wage are teenagers at their first job. In reality, however, most are age 20 or older and earn a big part of their families’ income.
[caption id="attachment_18997" align="alignleft"]Minnesota’s teen birth rate is the lowest on record, but new concerns are emerging about less condom use and more STDs among teens. Photo credit: Mrs. Flinger.[/caption]The teen birth rate is down in Minnesota, but another important concern about adolescent sexual health is emerging. Jill Farris with Teenwise Minnesota said condom use by teens has plateaued nationwide – and statewide, it’s actually on the decline.
[caption id="attachment_18859" align="alignleft"]childcareawaremn.org[/caption]The cost of child care continues to increase faster than income, and a new analysis also shows that parents in Minnesota pay among the highest rates in the nation. The average annual cost for care for an infant in Minnesota is nearly $14,000, and for a four-year-old it’s more than $10,000.
[caption id="attachment_18831" align="alignleft"]A stimulus program that provided more funding for food stamps has now ended. Courtesy Hunger Solutions Minnesota.[/caption]Reductions in food assistance impact nearly 540,000 statewide
The month of November has arrived in Minnesota, and along with it, an automatic reduction in funding for many families in the state who struggle to put food on the table. During the recession, there was a temporary increase in SNAP or food stamp benefits, but Colleen Moriarty, executive director of Hunger Solutions Minnesota, declared that that stimulus program is now officially over.
[caption id="attachment_18778" align="alignleft"]aecf.org[/caption]In Minnesota, 1 in 3 children are in poverty or low-income
The first eight years of a child’s life are the most critical in determining if the child will go on to success, and a new report says that’s why investments are needed. According to Stephanie Hogenson, outreach specialist for the Children’s Defense Fund Minnesota, the strategy must focus on all aspects of a child’s well-being.