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(Illinois) Kids Count study finds high infant mortality rates in Coles, Edgar counties

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Old June 27th 03, 07:55 PM
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Default (Illinois) Kids Count study finds high infant mortality rates in Coles, Edgar counties

Kids Count study finds high infant mortality rates in Coles, Edgar counties
A statewide study shows that infant mortality rates in Coles and Edgar
counties exceed the state average. Illinois Kids Count 2003 reported infant
deaths in 8.8 of every 1,000 children born in Coles County from 1997 to
2001. In Edgar County, the mortality rate for the same time period was
11.1. The state average is 8.1. The infant mortality rate reflects the
number of children who died before their first birthday. Figures were
derived by dividing the number of infant deaths for a five-year period by
the number of live births during those years. Cathie Reynolds, director of
nursing at the Coles County Health Department, said it is difficult to
pinpoint why the county rate is above the state average. "We monitor this
on a pretty close basis ... so it's not new to us," she said. "We look for
problems that could have been avoided, but the majority of our high-risk
infants and the infants that we have been involved with who have died have
been for some kind of severe congenital problem." Additional infant testing
and more genetic screening prior to pregnancy could improve the treatment
of babies with congenital defects, she said. Reynolds said the department
does promote other factors that lead to a healthy pregnancy. She said Coles
County is lower than the state average in other indicators that sometimes
lead to a higher infant mortality, such as early entry into prenatal care
and number of prenatal visits. "One of the things we have been concerned
about and we have been working on addressing is the high rate of mothers
who smoke," she said. "That percentage is over twice the state average, and
has been going up." Mothers who smoke have a higher chance of having
pre-term delivery and lower birth-rate babies, she said. "I don't know that
there is a direct correlation between babies we have seen and whether or
not the mothers smoke, but that is a concern and it could potentially lead
to problems," she said. "We are looking at the population we're serving,
and we have about 1,100 clients in our WIC program," she said. "We are
trying to address some of those issues with those clients as well."
Statewide, the survey said, the falling infant mortality rate is attributed
to a drop in deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, pneumonia and
influenza, respiratory distress syndrome, birth defects and accidents.
"Improvements in medical technology that help premature babies grow and
develop also are a factor," the survey said. Danielle Craig, director of
nursing at the Edgar County Health Department, said she was unfamiliar with
the Illinois Kids Count 2003 survey and declined comment. The survey stated
that all of the other five area counties -- Clark, Cumberland, Douglas,
Moultrie and Shelby -- had insufficient data to calculate an infant
mortality rate. The Illinois Kids Count 2003 survey was compiled by Voices
for Illinois Children, a non-profit organization. Other study findings:
-- Douglas County was the only area county that reported an increase in
child abuse and neglect cases between 1997 and 2001. The county had a 20.4
percent increase of cases during that time period, while the state reported
a 26.5 percent decrease (see accompanying graph). The data, provided by the
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, includes all cases in
which DCFS found evidence that abuse or neglect occurred. This number is
smaller than reported cases, some of which eventually prove unfounded. --
All area counties exceeded the state average high school graduation rate
with the exception of Shelby County. In 2000-2001, 79.8 percent of high
school students in Shelby County graduated, a 9.5 percent decrease from the
1999-2000 school year. The state average for 2000-2001 was 83.2 percent.
The figures, compiled by the Illinois State Board of Education, do reflect
students who moved out of or into districts within the time period. --
Cumberland County was the only county with a significant increase in the
percentage of teens who gave birth. This figure looks at the total number
of residents between the ages of 15 and 19 who gave birth. Cumberland saw a
72.7 percent increase in the number of teens who gave birth from 1999 to
2000 (see accompanying graph). The state saw an 11.8 percent decrease
during the same time period. The statistics for the survey came from the
Illinois Department of Public Health. -- Five area counties saw their teen
birth rates rise from 1986 to 2000. In Coles County, 14.9 percent of all
births in the county from 1996 to 2000 were to teens, an increase of 5.2
percent since the 1986-1990 time period. Figures for other area counties
were as follows: Clark, 13.7 percent, a 4.8 percent increase; Cumberland,
13 percent, a 24.9 percent increase; Douglas, 9.1 percent, a 10.6 percent
decrease; Edgar, 17.3 percent, a 3 percent decrease; Moultrie, 11.9
percent, a 36.9 percent increase; Shelby, 13.5 percent, an 8.6 percent
increase. Statewide, the teen birth rate was 12.2 percent from 1996 to
2000, a 4 percent decrease. The statistics for the survey came from the
Illinois Department of Public Health. -- Six of seven area counties saw a
decrease in the number of foster children placed in permanent homes from
1997 to 2001. This indicator measures the precentage of foster children who
are placed in one of three permanent living arrangements: reunification
with the parents, adoption, or subsidized guardianship, such as another
relative taking care of the child. The study shows that Cumberland County
saw no children placed in permanent homes in 2001, a 100 percent decline
over 1997 figures. Figures from other area counties are as follows: Clark,
37.1 percent decrease; Coles, 13.6 percent decrease; Douglas, 24.9 percent
decrease; Edgar, 26.1 percent decrease; and Shelby, 50 percent decrease.
Moultrie County saw a 56.5 percent increase in the number of foster
children placed in permanent homes from 1997 to 2001. Statewide, the
percentage of children placed in permanent homes rose 61.6 percent. The
figures were provided by the Illinois Department of Children and Family
Services. Contact Beth Heldebrandt at or 238-6857.
Coles, Moultrie placed on Poverty Watch List
Coles County's high infant mortality rate was one factor that led it to be
placed on a Poverty Watch List by a state group. The Illinois Poverty
Summit has put both Coles and Moultrie counties on the watch list, based on
the 2003 Report on Illinois Poverty, compiled by Heartland Alliance. The
list ranks each county according to four indicators: infant mortality,
poverty rate, birth mothers without a high school degree and housing costs.
Counties exceeding the state average in two of these areas were placed on
the Poverty Watch list. Coles exceeded state averages in infant mortality
and poverty rates. Moultrie exceeded the state average in infant mortality
and the number of birth mothers without a high school degree. Infant
mortality According to the IPS study, there were 9.4 deaths for every 1,000
births in Coles County from 1999 to 2001. Moultrie County saw 8.2 deaths
for every 1,000 births during the same time period. The state average is
8.0. Other area counties above the state average were Clark, 1.8;
Cumberland, 10.5; Edgar, 10.8; and Shelby, 9.6. Douglas County's rate was
5.5, below the state average. The statistics were compiled by the Illinois
Center for Health Statistics and the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Poverty rates Coles County had a poverty rate of 17.5 in 1999, above the
state average of 10.7. "This means that 17.5 percent of the population is
legally poor, based on the federal government's definition of poverty,"
said Amy Rynell, director of the Mid-America Institute on Poverty, who
worked on the report. The figure is based on the income level and size of
the family, as reported in the 2000 U.S. Census. For example, a family of
four with an income of less than $18,400 per year would fall below the
federal poverty level. All of the other area counties were below the state
average: Clark, 9.2; Cumberland, 9.5; Douglas, 6.4; Edgar, 10.5; Moultrie,
7.8; and Shelby, 9.1. Birth mothers without a high school degree
The study showed that 31.8 percent of all birth mothers in Moultrie County
in 2001 had no high school degree. That's above the state average of 21.7.
Douglas County also was above the state average, with 35.7 percent of all
births to mothers without high school degrees. Susan Hayes, director of
nursing at the Douglas County Health Department, attributes these high
numbers to the large Amish population in Douglas and Moultrie counties.
"(The Amish population) plays a huge role in it," she said. "The Amish
normally only go to school through eighth grade. They get married earlier
and they have children earlier." The figures were compiled by the Illinois
Center for Health Statistics and the Illinois Department of Public Health.
All other area counties were below the state average: Clark, 14.2; Coles,
15.1; Cumberland, 18.7; Edgar, 16.5; and Shelby, 14.3. Housing costs
All area counties were below the state average in the fourth category,
which looked at housing costs (specifically, renters unable to afford the
fair market rate for a two-bedroom home in 2000). The figures were
estimated by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. -- Beth Heldebrandt
Copyright 2003 Journal Gazette and Times-Courier, divisions of Lee
Enterprises .
Old June 28th 03, 11:49 AM
Greg Hanson
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Default (Illinois) Kids Count study finds high infant mortality rates in Coles, Edgar counties

Geez, that was verbose.
The report shows SIDS as down overall but it looks like many
that would have been SIDS would likely fall into other new
categories. (Actual number may be no better or worse, just
reported differently.)

I'm a little rusty on my stats.
Did anybody see anything that puts the ""abnormalities""
outside of "standard deviation"?

While I agree that the standouts should be studied more,
and the smoking thing looks like a big problem,
I am not sure how I'd like living in some zone that
the government is targeting.

Getting infant mortality down is laudible, but will some
millions of dollars be spent to push infant mortality from
..001 to .0001 per thousand? At what point do we accept
some tiny percent as natural and acceptable? Or will
infant mortality become another bottomless pit sacred cow
for government waste, because it's heart rending?

While they blamed smoking, they didn't mention the
effects of groundwater contamination or the "Love Canal"
or "Brown Fields" toxicity.

Good idea! Make caseworkers shovel dioxin tainted soil
into portable incinerators to improve our quality of life.

How's this playing in the "targeted" counties?

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