Colorado Children's Campaign releases annual report

At a glance

Moffat County

Population

2011 Child population (under 18) — 3,609

2011 Child population as a percentage of total population — 26.9%

Vulnerable Families

2011 Teen births (rate per 1,000 female teens 15-19) — 55.8

2011 Out-of-home placements (rate per 1,000) — 8

Family Economics and Supports

2012 Children qualifying for free or reduced price lunch — 42.9%

2011 Median household income — $52,257

2011 Children (under 18) in poverty — 17.5%

Child and Maternal Health

2011 Child abuse and neglect (rate per 1,000) — 14.2

2011 Uninsured children (ages 0-18) — 19.1%

2011 Eligible for Medicaid or CHP+ but not enrolled — 25.5%

Routt County

Population

2011 Child population (under 18) — 4,772

2011 Child population as a percentage of total population (under 18) — 20.6%

Vulnerable Families

2011 Teen births (rate per 1,000 female teens 15-19) — 15.4

2011 Out-of-home placements (rate per 1,000) — 2.1

Family Economics and Supports

2012 Children qualifying for free or reduced price lunch — 22.6%

2011 Median household income — $64,998

2011 Children (under 18) in poverty — 11.9%

Child and Maternal Health

2011 Child abuse and neglect (rate per 1,000) — 10.2

2011 Uninsured children (ages 0-18) — 19.1%

2011 Eligible for Medicaid or CHP+ but not enrolled — 36.1%

— Poverty looks different between Routt and Moffat counties.

According to the Colorado Children’s Campaign 2013 Kids Count report, Routt has troubling percentages of children who are eligible but not enrolled in Medicaid and also requires a higher median household income for a family to be considered self-sufficient.

Moffat saw high numbers of teen pregnancies and few resources available to help.

While Moffat’s child poverty rate was on par with the state average at 18 percent, Routt’s child poverty rate was 11.9 percent.

Although Routt’s number seems low compared to the state, poverty may be defined differently in Routt County. Although the county’s median household income is $64,998 compared to the state average of $55,530, Stephanie Martin of First Impressions of Routt County said the self-sufficiency standard for living in Steamboat in 2011 was $78,818. The Colorado Center on Law and Policy puts out the Colorado self-sufficiency report every four or five years. The self-sufficiency standard is for a family of four including two adults, an infant and preschooler.

“Even though we see the average median household income higher than the states, we still see a lot of families struggling to have their children enrolled in preschool,” Martin said.

Routt County also had 36.1 percent of eligible children not enrolled in Medicaid or CHP+, one of the highest percentages in the state second only to Garfield County.

Martin warned against reading too much into the figure. “When the Kid Counts data comes out it’s two years old, so we feel like it’s not really giving the most accurate picture so it can be really frustrating,” Martin said.

Director of the Department of Human Services in Steamboat Vickie Clark has partnered with the Visiting Nurse Association and created a presumptive eligibility site, allowing children and pregnant women to get access to Medicaid very quickly.

“We presumptively make them eligible,” Clark said. “They can get medical care right there on the spot then pass the application on to human services for long term eligibility.”

Clark said enrollment has increased since the 2011 figure came out.

A concerning statistic found in the report for Moffat County was the rate of teen pregnancies. In 2011 there were 56 births for every 1,000 female teens ages 15-19.

Even more concerning is how few outreach and prevention programs are available.

Moffat County has nearly four times as many teen births as Routt County, which has 15 births for every 1,000 female teenagers and twice as many as the state average of 28 births.

Director of the Yampa Valley Pregnancy Center Katie Grobe said the director before her used to visit the middle school and teach students about abstinence until the school asked her to stop coming.

“I’m definitely interested in pursuing that sort of thing,” Grobe said.

Not a direct resource for teen pregnancy prevention, the Grand Futures Prevention Coalition helps prepare students to make healthy decisions when it comes to substance use.

Moffat County Director for Grand Futures Prevention Coalition Matt Beckett said his organization focuses on substance abuse in teens, especially the transition from eighth to ninth grade and the effects of drugs and alcohol on behavior.

Grand Futures surveys Moffat County High School students to see how many were intoxicated during their last sexual encounter.

Beckett had data available for the 2008 and 2010 school years.

In 2008, 19 percent of all female freshman reported having had sex. Sixty-two percent of those admitted to alcohol or drug use before their last sexual encounter.

Thirty-five percent of male freshmen reported having sex while 40 percent of that number were intoxicated the last time they had sex.

Beckett said he works to prepare students to enter high school with open eyes.

“The younger girls start hanging out with older guys then end up in situations they’re ill equipped to be in,” Beckett said.

In 2010, 58 percent of girls who reported having sex used condoms while 68 percent of boys having sex used condoms.

Although a lower percentage concerning condom use, 78 percent of girls who reported they had sex said they used effective birth control during intercourse while 69 percent of boys reported doing so.

Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or dwarden@craigdailypress.com

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