THUMBS UP: How does “fifth best in the country” sound to you? When the 2020 US Childhood Report published by Save the Children gave Carroll County that ranking for its aptitude at protecting and providing for its children, we thought that sounded pretty darn good. Save the Children is an international organization that advocates for children’s welfare and equity, so their finding goes a pretty long way. The report focused on inequities in the U.S. and evaluated factors such as childhood hunger, teenage pregnancy, graduation from high school and death in childhood, evaluating more than 2,600 counties in total. According to the report, 6.1% of children in Carroll live in poverty, there are 27.1 deaths out of every 100,000 children and 13.4% lack adequate access to food. The percentage of high-schoolers who do not graduate within four years is 2.5%. And out of 1,000 female teenagers ages 15-19, statistically 5.5 give birth, the report found. The data for the report was collected before the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the U.S. But the report also includes a “COVID-19 vulnerability score” based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Social Vulnerability Index. The report gave Carroll almost the lowest possible — or best — COVID-19 vulnerability score: 0.04, out of 1.00. Of course, it’s never the right time to rest on our laurels when it comes to protecting our children; there’s always more that can and should be done. But make no mistake, this is a strong showing — No. 1 in Maryland — and it’s highly encouraging.