N.C. gets low marks for children's well-being

Infant mortality and low birth weights continue to plague North Carolina, according to a report card on child health and well-being.

The state ranks 44th in the nation for infant mortality, with the rate increasing from 8.5 deaths per 100,000 babies to 8.8 between 2000 and 2005, the report said. About 9.2 percent of North Carolina babies had low birth weights in 2005, placing the state 41st in the nation. The Annie E. Casey Foundation's Kids Count assessment shows that North Carolina improved from 39th in the country to 38th overall on 10 indicators of child well-being.

It likely means that other states are losing ground rather than that North Carolina is gaining, said experts with Action for Children North Carolina.

North Carolina ranked in the top half of the country in only one of the 10 areas. The state placed 22nd in deaths of children between ages 1 and 14, with 20 deaths per 100,000 kids.