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Most area children fare well

From staff reports

In southeastern Minnesota, some counties' numbers were even better than the state's generally impressive statistics in the Kids Count child-welfare report issued Thursday. The annual survey examines the health and well-being of America's young people.

Dodge County: The county was better than average for many indicators of child well-being. There were no concerns. The trend to watch is a decrease in the percentage of low-income children.

Fillmore County: The percentage of children changing schools, arrested for serious crimes or being removed from their homes were all lower than the state average. There were no concerns and no trends to watch.

Goodhue County: The percentage of low-income children was lower than the state average. There were no concerns. Trends to watch include increases in the percentage of students changing schools or not graduating on time.

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Houston County: Positive findings were a lower-than-average percentage of births to teens, children born at low birth weight, students changing schools, and arrests for serious crime. No concerns were listed. Trends to watch include a decrease in the percentage of children receiving food stamps and free or reduced-price school lunches, and an increase in the number of low-birth weight children.

Mower County: The county was close to average for many indicators. Concerns included an above-average number of low-birth weight babies, students not graduating on time and arrests for serious crime. Trends to watch include an increase in school transfers and children not graduating on time.

Olmsted County: A positive finding was a below-average percentage of children in low-income families. Concerns include an above-average percentage of low-birth weight babies and arrests of children for serious crime. Trends include an increase in percentage of children not graduating on time.

Wabasha County: Positive findings included a below-average percentage of low-income children, teen births, low-birth weight babies and children not graduating on time. Concerns were above-average reports of abuse and neglect. Trends were decreases in children receiving food stamps and free or reduced-price school lunch.

Winona County: The county is close to average for many indicators. Concerns were an above-average percentage of low-birth weight babies and children not graduating on time. The trend is a decrease in the percentage of children receiving food stamps.

For specifics about each county, go on the Web to www.cdf-mn.org, and click on "Kids Count," "2002 KIDS COUNT data book," and "county data."

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