The Mifflin Juniata Human Services
Needs Assessment 2013
Juniata County School District operates two high schools, one junior high school, and eight elementary schools. The Juniata County School District provided public educational services to 3,016 students in 2011-2012.
The Mifflin County School District operates one high school (grades 10-12), one junior high school (grades 8-9), one middle school (grades 6-7), one intermediate school (grades 4-5), and five elementary schools (grades K-3). The schools provided public educational services to 5,410 students in 2011-2012.
Decreased enrollment rates in both counties reflect the state trend of younger families leaving Pennsylvania.
Source: Pennsylvania Department of Education
Poverty Levels for Children
In Mifflin and Juniata counties the number of children living in poverty, and the number of children born to mothers with less than a high school education is significantly higher than the state average. That same research confirms that children who live with a mother who has not completed high school are less likely to receive cognitive stimulation and high quality child care during crucial development periods and are more likely to have diminished reading skills.
Children living in economically at-risk families
(up to 300% of poverty)
|Births to mothers with less than a high school degree
|Children in public funded early education programs
When children affected by risk factors, such as poverty or low maternal education, have access to quality early education before age five, they can often make up for such setbacks, enabling them to enter kindergarten on par with their peers. The benefits of quality early education to children and families reduce public expenses in special education.
|Number of children birth to five
|Percent of children under five served in early education programs
|Percent of 3rd graders scoring below proficient on the 2010 PSSA reading test
Babies born at low birth weight are at risk for serious health complications which can often result in the need for remediation once they reach school age. Visual and auditory impairments, learning disorders, behavioral problems, grade retention, and school failure have all been linked to low birth weight.
|Percent low-weight births
|Percent teen pregnancy (under 18)
|Percent tobacco use during pregnancy
|Percent born to mothers who receive little or no prenatal care
Dropout rates have a ripple effect on the local economy. Dropouts cost U.S. taxpayers between $320 billion and $350 billion a year in areas including but not limited to lost wages, taxable income, healthcare expenses, welfare, and incarceration costs. Dropouts are not eligible for 90% of the jobs in our economy.
Emerging priorities around health issues is evident throughout the research in this assessment. It is also a key issue in the healthcare reform initiative that is now underway in the United States. According to Health People 2020, people with no health insurance are more likely to lack a usual source of medical care, such as a primary care physician, and are more likely to skip routine medical care due to costs, thus increasing their risk for serious and disabling health conditions.
Primary/Specialty Care Access
For acute health services, Lewistown Hospital serves both Mifflin and Juniata counties.
The majority of physicians in the area, for both primary and specialty care, are employed by two group practices: Family Health Associates and Geisinger Medical Group. Several specialty care physicians remain independent practitioners in the areas of OB/GYN, Oncology, Podiatry, Neurology, Pediatrics, and Surgery. In addition, University Orthopedics offers a comprehensive range of orthopedic care in Lewistown.
|Ratio of primary care physicians to population
|Ratio of mental health providers to population
|Ratio of dentists to population
Mental health plays a major role in people's ability to maintain good physical health. Mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, affect people's ability to participate in health-promoting behaviors. In turn, problems with physical health, such as chronic diseases, can have a serious impact on mental health and decrease a person's ability to participate in treatment and recovery.
Oral disease is more prevalent in low income families. The PA department of health research shows that children in households with an annual income of less than $20,000 in Pennsylvania are three times more likely to have untreated dental cavities than children in households with an annual income of more than $100,000.
It became clear from the needs assessment, as well as the secondary data, that improving care for chronic disease is a priority. Heart disease, cancer, and stroke are the leading causes of death in both Mifflin and Juniata counties.
Source: PA Department of Health
|Chronic lower respiratory disease
Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, regular physical activity can improve the health and quality of life for all ages, regardless of disability. Among adults, physical activity can lower the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancer, falls, and depression. Among children and adolescents, physical activity can improve bone health, improve cardio-respiratory and muscular fitness, decrease level of body fat, and reduce symptoms of depression.
Despite the fact that Mifflin and Juniata counties offer access to and availability of healthier foods, it does not deem to be a strong factor when it comes to a local resident's diet. However, the places where people eat do appear to influence diet. For example, foods eaten away from home often have lower nutritional quality than foods prepared at home. The percentage of fast food restaurants in both counties is well above the national benchmark.
|Limited access to healthy foods
|Fast food restaurants
Source: County Health Rankings and Roadmaps
Tobacco/Alcohol/Illegal Drug Use
Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Excessive alcohol consumption contributes to over 54 different diseases and injuries, including cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon, and breast, liver diseases, and other cardiovascular, neurological, psychiatric, and gastrointestinal health problems.
Prevention of teen and unplanned pregnancy is an important part of a healthy community. Teen childbearing in Pennsylvania cost taxpayers at least $4.6 billion in 2008. Most of the public sector costs of teen childbearing are associated with negative consequences for the children of teen mothers during their childhood and young adult years.
The Abuse Network in Lewistown serves both Mifflin and Juniata counties and annually serves approximately 600 new victims and significant others experiencing sexual and/or domestic violence. Of the 600 individuals served, approximately 450 receive domestic violence services and 150 receive sexual assault services. These numbers have remained fairly consistent over the last decade with little fluctuation.
The income section highlights both sides of the income perspective: employment and income. Not all residents in the counties are able to work regardless of the employment picture and outlook.
While there are differences between the two counties, manufacturing continues to dominate other employment sectors in both and though generally declining, remain well above state average. The economy in both counties is primarily dependent on six sectors: manufacturing, healthcare/social services, retail trade, education, accommodation and food services, and local government.
Income levels in each of the two counties remain below the state average. While poverty rates in Juniata county are below the state average, Mifflin county's poverty rate remains above the state average.
|Median household income (ACS 2007-11)
|Percent of persons below poverty level (ACS 2007-11)
|Percent of children below poverty level
|Per capita income
|Percent of receiving SNAP benefits (ACS 2009-11)
The poverty rate for children in Mifflin and Juniata counties has been generally increasing as it has for the state and nation. Additionally, the number of students eligible for free and reduced lunches in the two-county area has increased. The number of uninsured children in our area is also above the state average.
|Children in poverty--2000
|Children in poverty--2010
|Students eligible for free/reduced lunches--2010
Source: US Census Bureau
Wage Levels and Self-sufficiency Standards
According to the Department of Labor and Industry, with one exception, wage levels in both counties remain below the state average for all employment sectors. When we consider wage levels in relation to established self-sufficiency standards, the average annual wage for each county is approximately on par with for a majority of household types. The wages received across employment/occupation types varies considerably and obscures the difficulty some employees have earning a living wage.