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Declining Child Well-Being Rankings in Oklahoma Highlight Urgent Need for PFO Programming

The Oklahoman recently reported that according to the latest Kids Count annual report published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Oklahoma has experienced a decline in rankings across various categories related to child well-being. Comparing to 2022, Oklahoma has fallen six spots and currently ranks 46th in measures of economics, education, health, family, and community.

The data reveals that Oklahoma's rankings for child well-being in 2023 are as follows:
  • Overall well-being: 46 (previously 40)
  • Economics: 38 (previously 32)
  • Education: 49 (previously 45)
  • Health: 37 (previously 42)
  • Family and Community: 43 (previously 41)

The Oklahoma Policy Institute, the local Kids Count affiliate, noted that the state only ranked in the top half of states in terms of the percentage of children living in households spending over 30% of their income on housing. However, this is still a concern as housing costs continue to be problematic for one in four Oklahoma families.

The report highlights that the only improvement in rankings was in children's health, which is attributed to Oklahoma's Medicaid expansion. However, there are still 75,000 children without health insurance in the state. Overall, the report suggests that consistent and sustained investments in programs and services are urgently needed in Oklahoma to improve child well-being and provide a better future for children in the state.

Peaceful Family Oklahoma has proven to drastically improve the wellbeing of the children who complete our program. We know that the 1 in 4 children impacted by a caregiver's substance use disorder struggle with at least one measure of child well being mentioned above, and that without intervention, these children are eight times as likely to struggle with a substance use disorder at some point in their life. Peaceful Family Oklahoma can help, with 85% of children who graduated from the Children's Program in 2020-2021 improving their ability to manage stressors and challenges. According to the CDC, recovery from child maltreatment for even one-in-four graduates means a $210,012 saved in lifetime costs per child, meaning that the 493 graduates of PFO's intensive programs have amounted to at least a $24.6 million savings for the state of Oklahoma. By keeping our programming free, we reduce the barriers to families seeking to change this narrative for the children in the state of Oklahoma.

To learn how you can support PFO's programming, click here.