In the most recent Kids Count, Cumberland County rose a notch to 20th out of 21 counties. This happened not so much due to anything Magazzu and his merry band of cohorts have done, but due to a change in the way results are calculated.
Cumberland County ranked second to last in child welfare according to the annual New Jersey Kids Count survey, released Monday, rather than last, as it as for each year the state’s 21 counties have been ranked.
We ranked dead last for child welfare every year until 2007. One of the reasons we are no longer last is that our increase in child poverty was less than other counties. There is no reason to be proud of these figures. We are still dead last for teen pregnancy.
According to past Kids Count surveys, the teen pregnancy rate in 2004 was 18 percent.
The state average, using 2006 numbers, is 6 percent.
Cumberland County also ranks last in median income of families with children – $49,394 – abuse and neglect investigations involving children – 83 out of every 1,000 investigations – and the percent of students passing fourth, eighth and 11th grade tests – 62, 65 and 62 percent respectively.
The county ranks second to last in percent of children unemployed and the percent of women receiving prenatal care.
Freeholder James Dunkins, chair of the county Department of Health, which includes the Youth Services Advisory Council, did not respond to a request for comment.
Reverend James Dunkins, freeholder and chair of the county Dept. of Health refuses to comment? He has had several years to influence policy, and his party dominates the freeholder board. He was duly elected to represent all of the citizens of Cumberland County, we deserve to hear what he has to say. If he refuses to perform his duties as freeholder, perhaps it is time for him to step down and hand the reins over to somebody that is willing to do the job.