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      Study: South Carolina failing its children

      South Carolina is ranked 45th in the U.S. for the overall well-being of children throughout the state, according to the annual Kids Count Survey released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

      The ranking is the same as 2013, which means any progress made over the past year was not enough to get the state out of the bottom 10 percent of the country.

      "Most alarming are the education and poverty measures," said Children's Trust Chief Executive Officer Sue Williams.

      The survey shows children in South Carolina struggle in education and economic well-being. It found 57 percent of kids are not attending preschool.

      It shows 72 percent of fourth graders are not proficient in reading and 69 percent of eighth graders are not proficient in math

      The survey also found 27 percent of children in the state live in poverty.

      For African American children, the numbers are even worse. The survey found only 13 percent are reading proficiently by fourth grade and 13 percent have math proficiency by eighth grade.

      "With education, families can lift themselves out of poverty and greatly reduce the stressors that can lead to child abuse and neglect," Williams said. "Education is critically important for future success and family stability. Too many of South Carolina's children are missing important educational milestones. The data is painting a very alarming picture for South Carolina's future."