By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — State child advocates have released new data on the well-being of Minnesota’s children.

The data is compiled by the Children’s Defense Fund – Minnesota.

The latest Kids Count data for Minnesota takes a look at five different categories of child well-being: education, health, finances, mental health, and child welfare.

The data showed some improvements, such as a drop in poverty. But an achievement gap persists.

There is a 20 percent high school graduation rate gap with English learning and special education students compared to English speaking students.

Gov. Tim Walz pushed Thursday for more to be done.

“If we have gaps in students’ achievement, we have gaps in home ownership, gaps in per capita income, gaps in life expectancies, and that tell us there’s something fundamentally not there,” Walz said.

The data shows a difference can be made from birth.

The report shows there is a need for good early childhood education. Minnesota has some of the highest childcare costs in the country.

Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan previously served as the director of the Children’s Defense Fund of Minnesota.

“Families need reliable child care but employers also need to have a reliable workforce,” Flanagan said.

In comparing data with other states, Minnesota ranked four in the nation for overall childhood well-being.

Kate Raddatz