The annual findings use a variety of indicators to come up with a state's ranking, like economics, education and health.
The report also shows that poverty among South Carolina's children has gotten worse, rising from 23 percent in 2005 to 27 percent in 2012. That's about 288,000 children, according to the most recent data available.
Thirty-six percent of the state's children lived in homes where the parents lacked secure employment, an increase from 30 percent in 2008.
Nationally, the report shows that 23 percent, or 16.4 million U.S. children, are living in poverty. That's up from about 19 percent in 2005.
South Carolina children improved in some education-related areas, although officials said the growth wasn't enough. Seventy-two percent of the state's children were not proficient in reading last year, a drop from 74 percent in 2005. Sixty-nine percent of South Carolina eighth-graders weren't proficient in math, down slightly from 70 percent in 2005.
"Most alarming are the education and poverty measures," said Sue Williams of the Children's Trust of South Carolina. "With education, families can lift themselves out of poverty and greatly reduce the stressors that can lead to child abuse and neglect."Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.