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Iowa Ranked Seventh Best State to Raise Children

CEDAR RAPIDS (CBS 2/ FOX 28)--The preschoolers in Ms. Stock's class use paper plates and other circle shapes to learn the alphabet. 
"Working with the children and kind of fine-tuning the different things the children work on, I do see a lot of growth in them," said Collette Stocks, a preschool teacher at Linn County Child Development Center.
That growth seems to be the trend for Iowa kids--who according to a new "kids count "study-- are healthier, smarter, and have higher graduation rates than previous years , making Iowa the seventh best state to raise a child. 
According to the study, from 2008 to 2011, the number of kids with health insurance grew two percent.
Nearly 5,000 more students graduated on time from high school in 2009-2010 than two years before.
The study also shows more Iowa kids being enrolled in preschool, an early start providers say are the building blocks to future success.
But while the study shows the gains Iowa children and teens have made, it also highlights areas that need work.
"We have more kids in poverty than we did in 2005,” said Chris Carman, director of Linn County Child and Youth Development Services.
The number of children in Iowa living in poverty and in high-poverty areas went up three percent in 2011. 
"We see kids who come in on Monday who really fill up on food because they haven't had access to as much over the weekend, "Carman said.
"We still have concerns about the well-being of kids," he said. 

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