By CHRIS COLLINS
Of the Baker City Herald
A report on the status of Oregons children in 2001 shows that the 4,054 living in Baker County were not as safe last year as they had been during the past five years.
The child abuse and neglect rate per 1,000 victims was at 26.2, a total of 106 children, according to the report, issued by Children First for Oregon. The previous five-year average rate had been 23.1. Baker Countys child abuse and neglect rate also is well above the state average of 12.2 per 1,000 victims.
In fact, only two counties Coos (at 30) and Klamath (26.6) reported higher rates of abuse and neglect for the year.
The number of crimes against people in Baker County totaled 256 in 2001, a rate of 15.3 compared to the statewide average rate of 12.9 per 1,000 people. Two Baker County children, ages 1-14, died in 2001 for a rate of 63.1 per 100,000 children. The statewide rate is 20.3 for 2001, a total of 129 child deaths for the year.
On the positive side for teens, Baker Countys juvenile arrest rate was at 40.2, a total of 163 per 1,000 children ages 0-17 in 2001. The previous average five-year rate was 102.9. The current statewide average rate is 44.3.
The teen pregnancy rate of 8.1 per 1,000 girls ages 10-17 also is better than the statewide average rate of 17.8. Just eight teen pregnancies were reported in Baker County in 2001. The average rate during the previous five years had been 10.2.
Teen suicide attempts, however, were worse in 2001. The five suicide attempts reported put the Baker County rate at 246.3 per 100,000 children ages 10 to 17. The statewide average rate is 209.4. Baker County reported an average rate during the previous five years of 146.
Baker Countys high school dropout rate of 3.6 is 43 percent better than the statewide rate of 6.3 percent. Eighth-graders also top the statewide rate for reading proficiency and math proficiency. Sixty-five percent of Baker County students are proficient in reading compared with a statewide rate of 62 percent; 57 percent are proficient in math compared with a statewide rate of 55 percent.
The county reported 11 low birthweight infants in 2001, a rate of 64.7 per 1,000 births compared with a statewide average rate of 56.6. The infant mortality rate improved with no babies dying at birth in Baker County during 2001. The statewide average rate is 5.8 per 1,000 live births.
The child care supply in Baker County was worse in 2001 with 382 spaces available for children ages 0-13. That is a rate of 13.1 per 100 children in that age range compared with the statewide average rate of 20.4. The Baker County average rate for the previous five years was 15.5.
According to the report, 53 percent of Baker Countys children were living at or near the Federal Poverty Level of $17,650 per year in 2001.
Other risk factors
Here is the percentage of families with babies born at risk in 2000 based on the fact that their mothers:
oWere younger than age 20 16 percent.
oSmoked during pregnancy 24 percent.
oWere unmarried 29 percent.
oDidnt finish high school 21 percent.
Under the heading of family stability, the report lists these statistics:
o$31,750 per year was the median household income in the region.
o7.3 percent of workers were unemployed on average in 2000.
o65 percent of court-ordered child support payments were paid.
o23 percent of households spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing.
o15 children sought refuge in a homeless shelter on a given night.
o30 percent of homes were renter occupied.
o$496 per month was the average rent on a two-bedroom apartment.
o115 children or more were affected by divorce in 2000.
o20 percent of households with children had a single mother.
o72 percent of households with children had married parents.
o185 children received assistance through welfare in a typical month.
o191 people were served with emergency food boxes in an average month.
o36 percent of public school children received free or reduced-price lunches.
o655 children, or 16 percent of all children, received assistance through food stamps in a typical month.
Survey of eighth graders
Eighth-graders gave these responses when asked about the quality of their family life in a survey:
and Management Practices
o13 percent were especially close to their parents.
o16 percent had a high level of involvement in family activities and decisions.
o11 percent reported their parents often affirmed their good behavior.
o12 percent lived in families that argued or yelled excessively.
o5 percent said their family set unclear rules and were poor monitors of their behavior.
o36 percent were at greater risk due to a family members or an adults substance abuse or criminal activity.
o2 percent felt their parents had permissive attitudes about cigarettes, marijuana or alcohol use.
o4 percent felt their parents had permissive attitudes toward stealing, graffiti and fights.
o2 percent did not like their neighborhood.
o2 percent moved homes or changed schools frequently.
o20 percent felt their neighbors were highly supportive of them.