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January 24, 2013 8:43 am

EDITORIAL: Raising children in Park County

Written by Ilene Olson

They say it takes a village to raise a child.

According to the 2013 WY Kids Count data report, “The Power of Community,” Park County is doing a pretty good job with its children. The county ranked second in the state for child well-being, behind only Albany County. And Park County is the only county that ranked better than statewide averages in all categories.

 

 

The report cites public and community resources such as Medicaid, Kid Care, Head Start and quality schools for improving the welfare of children in the state.

In Park County, we could cite a number of other organizations and resources as well, such as Park County Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Park County, Heart Mountain Volunteer Medical Clinic, the Children’s Resource Center, Park County Health Coalition, Park County Prevention and Wellness, experienced child care providers, agricultural community values, community food pantries, churches and others.

While the news is good overall, there still is room for improvement. Though still better than statewide averages, Park County’s data for child well-being fell in six of the 12 categories listed. More children are living in poverty or in low-income households. Infant, child and teen mortality rates all increased over the seven-year period between 2002 and 2009, and more children were born to unmarried mothers, putting them at a greater risk of living in poverty.

It’s up to all of us — parents, grandparents, friends, advocates, concerned community members — to continue to work to improve the welfare of children in Powell and in Park County.

Many opportunities exist to make a difference in the life of a child — from volunteering in a local school to helping a child in need; from reading to a child to donating food to Loaves and Fishes; from donating to the Boys and Girls Club to mentoring a child through Big Brothers/Big Sisters; from serving on a board to providing education and services to support and lift struggling families.

Together, we can make Park County even better than it is today, one child at a time.

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