KIDS COUNT, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is a national and state-by-state effort to track the status of children in the US.
Mission: KIDS COUNT is a national and state-by-state effort to track the status of children in the United States. By providing policymakers and citizens with benchmarks of child well-being, KIDS COUNT seeks to enrich local, state, and national discussions concerning ways to secure better futures for all children.
One of the major initiatives of the foundation is the KIDS COUNT Data Center, which uses the best available data to measure the educational, social, economic and physical well-being of children. It allows to see data on children well-being in different graphical format by state and national level on a wide variety of indicators.For the 2009 Census, data on children in poverty is also available by congressional district.
KIDS COUNT index
The index includes 16 child-level indicators across four domains: (1) Economic Well-Being, (2) Education, (3) Health and (4) Family and Community. This multifaceted index provides a more complex picture of child well-being in each state, especially in cases where a state excels in one or two areas but lags behind in others.
Since 1990, KIDS COUNT this Annie E. Casey Foundation project has provided national and state data on the well-being of children in the United States. The KIDS COUNT Data Book is complemented by the KIDS COUNT Data Center and contains hundreds of measures of child well-being covering national, state, county, congressional district, and city information. The website contains customizable maps, graphs, and geographic profiles that include information on education, economic well-being, health, the number of children in immigrant families, and many more topics.The KIDS COUNT model has also been adopted in Latin America, and is currently being replicated by child advocates in Brazil, Mexico, and Paraguay.
This book is the 25th edition, reporting on contextual changes and differing trends in in the four domains of child well-being since 1990. It highlights positive policies and practices that have improved child health and development and features stories from several states on advocacy efforts that have improved outcomes for kids and families.
Three of the four Economic Well-Being indicators got worse, showing that children and families have not fully recovered from the deep recession. There have been, however, some important improvements in child health and safety, as well as in all four Education indicators. The decline in the teen birth rate is one of the most positive developments.
It observes modest gains in the Education and Health domains, some of which build on longer-term, incremental improvements. But when it looks at the Economic after many years of calamitous economic trends, the 2013 Data Book reveals some modest but hopeful signs of recovery and improvement for America’s children and families.
Well-Being and Family and Community domains, three troubling trends emerge. First, it finds lingering effects of the recession and continued high unemployment. Second, disparities among children by income and family structure continue to grow. (In contrast, while some disparities by race and ethnicity have increased, others have narrowed.) Third, America’s youngest children are disproportionately affected by these negative trends.
A state-level examination of the data reveals a hard truth: a child’s chances of thriving depend not just on individual, familial and community characteristics, but also on the state in which she or he is born and raised. States vary considerably in their amount of wealth and other resources. State policy choices also strongly influence children’s chances for success.
Comparing the data from pre- and post-recession time frames reveals both positive and negative developments in child well-being nationally. Broadly speaking, children experienced gains in the Education and Health domains but setbacks in the Economic Well-Being and Family and Community domains. All four Economic Well-Being indicators got substantially worse, which is not surprising, given the depth and severity of the economic crisis and continued high rates of unemployment. Conversely, all four Education indicators—which cover preschool to high school graduation—showed some improvement over the five-year period. Child health continued to improve, with gains in children’s health insurance coverage and reductions in child and teen mortality and teen substance abuse. The percent of low birth-weight babies, however, remained unchanged. Trends in the Family and Community domain were mixed. There were small declines in both the percent of children living with parents without a high school diploma and in the teen birth rate. But the percent of children living in single-parent families increased, and more children are living in high-poverty areas. Overall, developments in child well-being over the past several years suggest that progress has been made in some areas but that a lot of work remains to be done to improve the prospects for the next generation. Perhaps the most striking finding is that despite tremendous gains over recent decades for children of all races and income levels, inequities among children remain deep and stubbornly persistent.
The 2011 Data Book examines how children and families are faring in the wake of the recession. According to this year’s data, the official child poverty rate in the U.S. increased by 18 percent between 2000 and 2009, essentially returning to the same level as the early 1990s. This increase means that 2.4 million more children are living below the federal poverty line. Data also reveal that the impact of the job and foreclosure crisis on children has been grave. In 2010, 11 percent of children had at least one unemployed parent and 4 percent were affected by foreclosure between 2007 and 2009. These economic challenges hinder the well-being of families and the nation.
The essay introducing the 2011 Data Book is “America’s Children, America’s Challenge: Promoting Opportunity for the Next Generation.” In this message, the Casey Foundation takes a hard look at challenges federal and state legislators will face as they work to ensure the continued well-being and future of the nation’s children at a time of economic uncertainty. The public policy recommendations offered are practical, maximize the use of public funds, and represent the best thinking of leading progressive and conservative experts. They are grounded in policies and programs that have been shown to work and provide a blueprint for helping all children reach their potential and set the nation on a path to renewed economic prosperity.
Here is a round-up of media coverage from the launch of the 2011 Kids Count data book
About the Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Annie E. Casey Foundation is a private charity organisation with the goal to increase opportunities for disadvantaged children in the United States. It was established in 1948 by Jim Casey, one of the founders of UPS, and his siblings. The foundation is named in honor of their mother. The foundation makes grants to organisations in the US that improve children’s living conditions.