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Jefferson County Ranks 60th (Out of Kentucky's 120 Counties) In Children's Well-Being

More than anywhere in Kentucky, the well-being of children in Jefferson County is inconsistent, according to data released Tuesday  in the 2014 Kids Count County Data Book.In health, Jefferson County ranks No. 12. In education, it ranks No. 112.“No county in Kentucky has a higher variability than Jefferson County," said Terry Brooks, executive director for Kentucky Youth Advocates, which released the report.The Kids Count report uses data—such as poverty rates, youth incarceration and school performance—to measure child well-being in the areas of education, health, economic security and family and community, according to the report.  The data is collated to compare child well-being in all of Kentucky's 120 counties.Overall, Jefferson County ranks No. 60—right in the middle.Neighboring Oldham County topped every category except "economic security," in which it ranked No. 2. (Overall, Bullitt ranked No. 13, Shelby No. 19,  Spencer No. 3.)Here's the top 10:

And here are the bottom 10:

Jefferson County ranked 95th in family and community and  31 in economic security.Brooks said Jefferson County's health ranking was due largely to Metro Louisville's "holistic" approach to the issue. He said the city has done well in crafting innovative approaches to health, and in targeting plans with area-specific initiatives. And he said Jefferson County Public Schools should begin paying more attention to "non- cognitive factors," such as family structure or mental health. The recent addition of mental health counselors to some JCPS schools, he said, was a positive step.“When we think about counties where school systems are doing better than expected, they have certainly worked hard on curriculum and instruction, but they’ve gone way beyond that," Brooks said, noting that the greater community also has a role in addressing the issue.He said the report, especially for JCPS, is a "real call to action.""That means that folks well beyond the school system need to be asking hard questions about what do we do to move the performance needle in that sector.”Brooks said he's heard poverty used as a crutch when discussing child well-being in Louisville, but the Kids Count report noted that Jefferson County ranks in the top third of the state in economic security. "In fact, candidly sometimes it’s a cop-out," Brooks said of the poverty tag. "‘Well, we’re an urban area; we’re poor.’ You actually look at it, our poverty rate in Jefferson County mirrors the state. The median income is a little lower, but not dramatically lower.”The report said about half of Jefferson County's kindergartners weren't prepared to enter school,and 63 percent of eighth-graders weren't proficient in math. You can read the full report below.In July, the national Kids Count report—which compares the states—said Kentuckyranked 35th overall for child well-being.Here's an interactive map of the entire state based on overall ranking:Here's the report:

Joseph Lord is the online managing editor for WFPL.