The latest Kids Count report from the Michigan League for Public Policy released Wednesday details state and county statistics relative to child health, safety and education.

Kids Count in Michigan is part of a national network of state projects supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. It is an effort to measure the well-being of children at state and local levels and use that information to shape efforts to improve the lives of children.

The report reveals that in Ottawa and Allegan counties, child poverty is trending in a positive direction since 2010, but child abuse and neglect rates have increased.

Trends in Ottawa and Allegan are similar to the state as a whole, which has seen 80 counties experience a decrease in child poverty and 64 counties have an increase in confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect.

Ottawa and Allegan each showed improvements in the rate of children in poverty. Ottawa decreased from 13.2 percent in 2010 to 5.7 percent, while Allegan’s rate dropped from 17.6 percent to 13.6 percent. Both counties were better than the state rate of 19.3 percent.

Children in Poverty Rates
Infogram

Despite the improvement in child poverty, Ottawa County saw an increase in the rate of young adults — ages 18 to 26 — in poverty. The rate has grown from 23.4 percent in 2010 to 26 percent currently. In the same time frame, Allegan County’s young adult poverty rate fell from 19 percent to 10.7 percent.

Both counties saw increases from 2010 to current data in all three categories of child abuse/neglect rates — children in investigated families, confirmed victims and children in out-of-home care. These categories are measured per 1,000 children.

Ottawa County saw its rate of children in investigated families increase from 35.1 per 1,000 to 75.2, its confirmed victim rate jump from 4.8 to 12.5 and the rate of children in out-of-home care increase from 1.4 to 2.4.

In Allegan County, the rate of children in investigated families rose from 60 to 148, confirmed victims increased from 17.8 to 22.8 and the children in out-of-home care rose from 4.1 to 5.9.

Child abuse/neglect rates from 2020 Kids Count report
Infogram

The report included several education related statistics as well, including third grade reading proficiency, eighth grade math proficiency and students graduating on time.

In Ottawa County, rates were noticeably higher than state average, but there is still room for improvement. The county had a 64.2 percent third grade reading proficiency, higher than 45.1 for the state, but down from the county’s 67.4 mark in 2010. Math proficiency in eighth grade went up from 45.4 to 49.4 percent, higher than the 32.7 percent state average. According to the report, 91.2 percent of Ottawa county students graduated on time, 10 percent higher than the state mark of 81.4.

Allegan County was also higher than state average in those three categories. The county had a 54.7 percent third grade reading proficiency (down from 59.2), a 39.9 percent eighth grade math proficiency (up from 33.7) and 84.3 percent of students graduating on time (up from 82.5).

Ottawa County’s total child population increased 1.5 percent from 2010 to 2018, growing from 68,737 to 69,797. Allegan County’s child population dropped from 29,224 to 28,372, a 2.9 percent decrease.

To view full reports on individual counties and the state as a whole, visit the Michigan League for Public Policy website at mlpp.org.

— Contact reporter Mitchell Boatman at mboatman@hollandsentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @SentinelMitch.