Kids Count '07: State failing its children

A summit will be held next year to tackle Mississippi's troublesome last-place ranking in an annual survey of children's well-being.

Officials say the January 2008 summit will be held in Jackson and will bring together child advocates, state agencies, policymakers, direct caregivers and faith-based providers.

Mississippi is ranked 50th in the annual Kids Count report on the health and well-being of children and teens that was released Wednesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation charity.

The charity measures each state's progress on 10 statistics, including infant mortality, poverty rates, single-parent families and babies born with low birth weights.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation ranks every state each year on 10 health indicators for children. Here are the indicators with Mississippi's rates and ranking:

Children in poverty

31%, ranking 50

Teen birth rate (births per 1,000 females ages 15 to 19)

62%, ranking 49

Children in single-parent families

47%, ranking 50

High-school dropouts (percent of teens 16 to 19)

9%, ranking 36

Teens ages 16 to 19 not working or in school

11%, ranking 45

Children with parents who are not working full-time, year-round

43%, ranking 50

Infant mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 births)

9.8%, ranking 49

Child death rate (deaths per 100,000 children ages 1 to 14)

31%, ranking 45

Teen death rate (deaths per 100,000 teens ages 15 to 19)

102 deaths, ranking 48

Low birth weight babies

11.6%, ranking 50

Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation

—reported by The Associated Press