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Children gaining in well-being

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Fewer children are living in poverty than a decade ago -- and more parents have full-time, year-round jobs, a national study of child well-being finds.

But the annual KIDS COUNT Data Book notes that the percentage of families headed by single parents grew in the 1990s, from 24% in 1990 to 28% in 2000.

The authors caution that child poverty remains a problem. Forty-one percent of eligible families did not receive food stamps in 2000, and 12% of children had no health insurance.

''Even though low-income parents are working harder and longer, too many continue to find it extremely hard to get by and get ahead,'' says Douglas Nelson, the foundation's president. He notes that many low-income families are ''just one crisis away from economic catastrophe.''

Overall, eight of 10 indicators of child well-being improved. Infant mortality, child death rates and teen deaths by accident, homicide and suicide all dropped.

The study is financed by the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation, a private charitable organization.

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© Copyright 2003 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

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