In a survey where being first is the worst, Montana did not fare well in a recent survey released by Wallet Hub on the 20 states with the most underprivileged children.

Analyst Jill Gonzales said the numbers from the survey came from the latest 2016 Census Bureau statistics.

Starting with the worst ranking for the state, Gonzales provides details about the percentage of Montana’s kids in foster care.

“Right now, Montana has the third highest percentage of children in foster care,” began Gonzales. “That’s about six times higher than say, New Jersey, Maryland or Virginia. That’s one of the key areas socioeconomically really affects the child’s life, especially when they become adults. That is where Montana fares the worst.”

Katie Gerten with Youth Dynamics in Missoula echoes that survey result.

“In my experience in Montana there is just an overwhelming number of kids in foster care,” said Gerten. “We have very high rates of child abuse and neglect. We do have a very large drug problem which leads to a lot of kids entering care because their parents are arrested or can no longer take care of them.”

A surprising area where Montana scored poorly was the percentage of uninsured children, where Montana was the seventh worst in the nation, and the eighth worst for children’s health, especially with the CHIP’s program and Medicaid Expansion.

“Some of these states that rank so much higher have had Medicaid expansion in place for several years, while Montana only passed Medicaid expansion in 2014. I think the recent expansion in Montana is only going to help these numbers going forward. With that in place, we hope at least that Montana will rise out of that top 20 of worst states in underprivileged children.”


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