Wyoming kids are better off economically than the average American child, according the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s latest Kids Count report, which tracks child well-being. The study found that only 14-percent of Wyoming children live in poverty, compared to 22-percent nationally.
But Marc Homer with the Wyoming Children’s Action Alliance says those numbers can be misleading.
Nationally and in Wyoming, more children are being cared for by Grandparents or other family members.
Children end up being cared for by relatives or close family friends because of military deployments, the death of a parent, substance abuse or mental illness, or child abuse and neglect. The Annie E. Casey Foundation says some four thousand Wyoming children are being cared for by a family member. Wyoming Kids Count Director Marc Homer says these can be excellent guardians for children, but he notes that state policies can be challenging for these caregivers.
A locally produced documentary on the state’s juvenile justice system will air on Wyoming PBS this Sunday.
Marc Homer is the kid’s count director at the Wyoming Children’s Action Alliance, and director of the film “Your Neighbor's Child”. He says the film, which was originally released a year ago, is aimed at spurring change in the state. But Homer says Wyoming still has the highest rate of juvenile incarceration in the U-S.