Texas declared one of the 10 worst states for kids

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A new report from a group called Kids Count says Texas is one of the 10 worst states for children to live in.

The report says, among other things, millions of children in Texas live in poverty and in single-parent families.

It also shows that the state ranks low in early childhood education but one East Texas school district is trying to change that.

Texas is ranked 42 out of 50 states for overall children's health and well-being.

The report breaks down the state into 4 categories: family and community, economic well-being, education and health.

One of the most notable statistics is the 1.8 million Texas children living in poverty.

While the state saw some improvements in over-all education and health, there are still many children who don't have access to healthcare.

The annual Kids Count assessment says that the state of Texas has the second highest number of children who are uninsured in the United States.

According to the report, 59 percent of young Texans don't have access to pre-school but that's not the case in Lufkin ISD.

LISD actually goes above and beyond to ensure Lufkin tots have access to early childhood education.

Early childhood specialist for Lufkin ISD, Cindy Akeroyd says there are more than 700 students currently enrolled in the pre-k program.

"We offer a full day pre-kindergarten program," said Akeroyd. "It's a mandate that you offer a ½ day, LISD offers a full day. We do pre-k 3 and pre-k 4. They're having skills being brought to them at an early age so that when they are in kindergarten, 1st and second grate they're much more successful."

Akeroyd says there are six criteria to qualify for the pre-k program but the student only has to have one to be eligible: be at an educational disadvantage, homeless, parent serving in the military, have a deceased or disabled parent, a child in foster care or have English as their second language.  

Lufkin ISD says they ensure all children eligible for the pre-school program are able to attend class by providing free or reduced lunches and bus service.

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