Lawmakers seek ways to improve welfare of Tenn.'s children

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - State lawmakers pledged Tuesday to improve the welfare of Tennessee's children.

Tennessee slipped to 46th from last year's ranking of 43rd in the annual Kids Count report.

State Senator Roy Herron of Dresden, chairman of the Select Committee on Children and Youth, said Tennessee children are not doing very well.

Tennessee was ranked 47th in infant mortality, which Herron said is a sobering statistic. He said the problem is all across the state and not just some areas.

The annual Kids Count report measures each state's progress on ten statistics, including infant mortality, poverty rates, single-parent families and babies born with low birth weights.

States in the Northeast and upper Midwest scored the best. At the top: New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Minnesota and Iowa.

Southern states did the worst: Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico, South Carolina and Tennessee.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)