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The Badger State Could Do Better for Its Babies

Wisconsin can do better ensuring its babies have a good start in life: According to a newly released report, Wisconsin trails most other states in child welfare indicators such as developmental screenings, maternal mental health, and housing stability for families of young children.

On the positive side, Badger babies are less likely to live in households that go hungry, they have a lower rate of maltreatment, and they are more likely to be read to every day, according to the report.

The “State of Babies Yearbook: 2019” placed Wisconsin in the second-lowest of a four-tier ranking of all 50 state and the District of Columbia. The report – which was created by Zero to Three, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit focusing on early childhood development – compiled state-by-state rankings in three policy areas: Good Health, Strong Families, and Positive Early Learning Experiences.

Wisconsin was in the second-highest grouping for health and families but fell to the bottom quarter of states for early learning. “Each of the 200,296 babies in Wisconsin was born with a bundle of unlimited potential and the first three years of their life will shape every year that follows,” said Myra Jones-Taylor, chief policy officer of Zero to Three.

“But far too many babies face persistent hardships – such as food insecurity, unstable housing, and exposure to violence – that undermine their ability to grow and thrive.”

To learn more about the State of Babies report, visit stateofbabies.org.

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