26 out of 82

in overall child well-being


of children in poverty

Early Childhood in Kent County

According to the Kids Count in Michigan Data Book 2016, Kent County ranks 26 out of 82 in child well-being. There are 35,821 children living in poverty and 22.2% of of students are not graduating on time. We also know the following about young children in Kent County:

  • 27% were assessed with low/extremely low age-appropriate oral language skills.
  • 20% were assessed as at-risk of needing special school services at kindergarten entry.
  • 33% of children of color scored extremely low on oral language skills, compared to 4% of white students. This gap persists into third-grade reading scores.
  • More than half of the births in Kent County are Medicaid funded.

A community report identified a gap of more than $35 million for services needed in Kent County to improve the outcomes for young children. For more than 15 years, the community has been actively and aggressively building an early childhood system that can identify the needs, meet those needs and ensure that the services provided are effective and have a sound return on investment. In order to reach the next level of impact, there is a clear need for sustainable dollars that can bring effective and innovative services to scale. Thus, the community is exploring the possibility of pursuing an early childhood millage.



children ages 0-5 in Kent County