The childhood poverty rate in Elkhart County has fallen – but there’s still work to be done. Though the county’s rate dropped from just over 21 percent in 2012 to 18 percent for 2014, there are still almost 12,000 area children who live in poverty. That, in the 2014 Kids Count Report released last week. However, the number of children qualifying for free or reduced-cost lunches increased to more than 56 percent in 2012 – the fourth straight increase and a jump from 50 percent in 2009. Some suggest that indicates the need for a fundamental shift in the county’s economy. There are more nuggets of good news–the teen birth rate dropped by nearly half between 2008 and 2011 and the number of children in need of services fell by more than half. Child abuse and neglect also declined.