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State ranks low on how children fare
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ATLANTA — Georgia ranked 42nd nationally for child well-being in a survey reported by The Annie E Casey Foundation.

The annual survey released Wednesday by the Baltimore-based group showed Georgia improving in some areas but remaining at No. 42 overall for the third straight year.

The survey showed Georgia ranks 46th in the country for low-birth-weight babies; 41st for children in single-parent homes, and 42nd in infant mortality.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported ( that Gaye Smith, executive director of the Georgia Family Connection Partnership, says Georgia has made progress in some areas, including a declining teen birth rate that now ranks 38th in the country, but she says an increase in low birth-weight babies is a big concern.

The recession made things far worse, but it isn't to blame for all of Georgia's problems, said Gaye Smith, executive director of the Georgia Family Connection Partnership. The state has been among the 10 worst states almost every year since the annual report started two decades ago, Smith said.

A study of persistent poverty by the University of Georgia identified 240 counties in the South — including 91 in Georgia — that had three generations of poverty, Smith said.

"That was a huge eye opener," she said. "We have deep-rooted poverty that has lasted for generations, and that takes a lot to turn around."

The survey shows nearly 570,000 children living in poverty in the state.

The economy may have led to limited access to prenatal care, said John Carter, a clinical assistant professor at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health. Living in poverty can also lead to stress and poor nutrition for expecting mothers, Carter said.


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