Savannah,GA (WSAV) – Where your children grow up can play a major role in their well-being, according to a study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The results show Georgia and South Carolina aren’t sitting well on the map when it comes to raising kids.
The study ranks Georgia as the 8th worst state in the nation to raise children and South Carolina as the 9th.
They based it on factors like poverty levels, education, health and the family structure inside the home.
The good news- there are people and agencies working every day to try to improve the statistics.
Four years ago Tiffany Nelson walked away from teaching school so she could start a year-round way of instilling lessons in children.
What she discovered during home visits as a teacher told her there was a need for something more.
“Because of the things going on in the home, the kids can’t really focus on what’s going on in the classroom,” Nelson said. “Because they’re worried about what’s going on in the home, where their next meal is going to come from – worried because mom just lost her job and they can’t pay the rent.”
What she witnessed paints the picture of life inside a lot of Georgia households, according to a recent study called Kids Count.
Results landed Georgia as the 8th worst state to raise a kid.
Some of the contributing factors: 26% of children living in poverty, 72 percent of 8th graders not proficient in math and almost 40% living in a single parent home.
Those are findings Nelson sees every day.
“Not just single moms but single dads, grandparents, uncles, aunts that are trying to raise their relatives’ children; we see a lot of that,” Nelson said.
Through Build a Bridge Foundation, she and her volunteers provide food, clothing, childcare and tutoring all year long, with summer bringing in extra fun.
“We get to go to the pool and on field trips,” one participant said.
It’s one way Savannah’s working to change Georgia’s numbers…that could happen even faster with a little more help.
“I think what it’s going to take is everyone in the community pitching in, all of our afterschool programs, because our teachers can only teach for so many hours during the day,” she said.
South Carolina is the 9th worst, according to the study.
The main struggles there: education and family-living.
The number of children in single-parent families continues to rise and more than a fourth of children there are living in poverty.
To view the entire results of the study, log onto: http://www.aecf.org/resources/the-2016-kids-count-data-book/