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Attention politicians: Kids need you

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The news about the welfare of Arizona children is just in, and not all of it is good.

According to a new study commissioned by the Children’s Action Alliance (CAA), an independent organization that works on behalf of Arizona kids in the greater community, wide variations in conditions exist for kids in different parts of the state. The study, which is broken down by each of Arizona’s 30 newly drawn legislative districts, shows that the percentage of children living in poverty varies from only six percent in Legislative District 23 (North Scottsdale and Fountain Hills) to 40 percent in District 30 (West Phoenix and parts of Glendale).

CAA, which works from the state capitol to improve children’s health, education, and security through information and action, used recent U.S. Census data, along with AIMS reading scores, as the foundation for the study, which the organization says should stand as a call for help from government officials.

“Arizona families need elected leaders who are accountable and work for them,” says Dana Wolfe Naimark, CAA president and CEO.  “The fact sheets [in our study] give both voters and candidates a good look at assets and needs for children, so they can focus on the campaign issues that matter most for children’s success.”

Despite the rather wide variation in well-being that is documented for the different districts, statistics show that Arizona kids face many common challenges. Among these is the fact that, in every legislative district documented, more than half of the children have both parents in the labor force.

“Therefore, the need for quality, affordable childcare shouts out from the fact sheets,” Naimark says.

Even the wealthiest legislative districts include schools with low passing rates on the third grade AIMS reading test, according to the study’s fact sheets.

“Campaign promises and platforms mean a lot more when they are based on local conditions and priorities,” Naimark insists. “This information gives candidates the chance to go beyond kissing babies in photo ops to supporting real strategies that improve children’s health, education and security.” 

CAA’s new “kids-need-help fact sheets” can be viewed at azchildren.org.

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