Delaware has one of the nation’s lowest rates of children without health insurance, according to the latest findings in the 2017 KIDS COUNT Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Delaware has seen a 40 percent drop in children without health insurance coverage since 2010, with 97 percent now insured.
That puts Delaware ahead of the national average and most states. It's currently ranked 14th overall.
But a Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act could reverse that trend, according to Janice Barlow, the director of Kids Count at the University of Delaware.
"And the reason why that’s so concerning is because when kids have health insurance they’re much more likely to get preventative care. And we know that preventative care is much more ideal than Emergency Room visits,” she said.
The data book also finds some troubling trends in Delaware.
Child poverty is on the rise in the state, with 19 percent of children living below the poverty line in Delaware -39,000 children statewide.
That’s up one percentage point and slightly better than the national average (21 percent).
The number of children living in high-poverty areas is also on the rise. It’s increased by 25 percent since 2010.
Barlow said this trend is especially troubling since high-poverty areas create a unique challenge. They often lack the support and resources available to children in more affluent neighborhoods.
“When you have children grouped in clusters in high-poverty areas sometimes that support does not exist, so the impact on the child is greater,” she said.
The number of 8th graders scoring below proficient on state math exams is also on the rise.
That number increased from 68 percent in 2009 to 70 percent in 2015.
The standardized tests have changed three times over this period, so it's difficult to gauge the accuracy of comparing these results.
"But one thing hasn't changed," Barlow said. "Children in poverty have lower proficiency levels than their more affluent counterparts. We're never going to improve proficiency without tackling poverty."
Find the full report HERE.