Graduation rates are up, teen births are on the decline and fewer children are living in poverty.

Taken all together this would seem to show that Florida is moving in the right direction in taking care of our children.

But while some improvement was noted in the recently released 2019 Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Report, Florida still ranks just 37th in child well-being — down three spots from last year. Today 1 in 5 Florida children still live in poverty, a mere 3 percent improvement since 2010.

We must do better.

Children in poverty are three times more likely to be abused and seven times more likely to endure neglect. And no matter how positive their experiences in foster care may be, removing children from their families lowers their chances for success.

Those who grow up in foster care and exit the system without families have bleak futures. The statistics show that:

• 20 percent will become homeless.

• Only 50 percent will be employed by age 24.

They are also 10 times more likely to commit crimes and 75 percent more likely to rely on the government just to meet their basic needs (perpetuating the cycle of dependence on public welfare).

That’s a price we all pay. And it doesn’t end there.

Children in poverty are also five times more likely to drop out of high school. And those who drop out are 63 times more likely to spend time behind bars as adults.

The cost to society? It's $292,000 per dropout.

That’s why we at the Children’s Home Society of Florida remain passionate about delivering the right solutions to change the circumstances — especially for kids who:

• Live in poverty.

• Have suffered traumas.

• Are battling mental health challenges.

That means reaching the whole child — the whole family — from cradle to career and beyond.

We need the entire community to jump on board and work together to fund the solutions that will take Florida from No. 37 to No. 1.

Andry Sweet is the chief operating officer and Interim CEO for the Children’s Home Society of Florida.