Children at Risk's 10th report on Houston-area children is out, and it's as grim as ever.
"The 2008-2010 edition of Growing Up in Houston continues to underscore the many needs of our children," the respected organization says.
Among the highlights:
-47% of Harris County children live in or near poverty.
-Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured children at 24.6%.
-Over 21% of Harris County students are overweight.
-Only half of the estimated 214,064 children with a diagnosable mental disorder in Harris County receive mental health services.
-53.5% of Harris County students were identified as "at-risk" of dropping out. CHILDREN AT RISK calculates that only 48.8% of students who start the 9th grade in HISD will graduate in four years.
The report won't be officially available until after the first of the year.
Children at Risk hopes, as always, to address these problems through the legislature. Among their priorities in Austin this year are, they say, to "create transparency in graduation/drop-out rates," maximize funding for juvenile mental-health dockets in the judicial system, and give more oversight to school health requirements.
Best of luck with all that, fellas. The Lege is in a budget-chopping mood, and kids at risk are not usually the first priority.
-- Richard Connelly