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Promoting the Well-Being of Children Through Child Indicators: An Approach to Data-Based Advocacy Presentation to the Conference on Measuring the Progress of Societies World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy June 2007. The Casey Foundation’s Interest in Data-Based Advocacy.

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Promoting the Well-Being of Children Through

Child Indicators:

An Approach to Data-Based Advocacy

Presentation to the Conference on

Measuring the Progress of Societies

World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy

June 2007

the casey foundation s interest in data based advocacy
The Casey Foundation’s Interest in Data-Based Advocacy

The Annie E. Casey Foundation:

  • Started in 1948 by Jim Casey, the founder of United Parcel Service (UPS)
  • Committed to using a data-based approach to build better futures for disadvantaged children in the USA
  • Currently funds a number of data-based advocacy projects focused on children
  • Focus today: KIDS COUNT, and a series of reports, Growing Up in North America
our framework for data based advocacy

Our Framework for Data-Based Advocacy

Reliable data: a carefully selected set of reliable indicators, regularly available, combined with….

Multiple communication methods, through varied media, combined with…

Advocacy to reach audiences of local,

state, and federal policymakers

kids count

KIDS COUNT

  • A national project begun in 1990 to:
    • Increase public awareness of
    • vulnerable children
    • Elevate children’s issues on the public and policymakers’ agendas
    • Enhance the use of data as the basis for decision-making
kids count two parts to the strategy
KIDS COUNT: Two Parts to the Strategy
  • National strategy, to generate a climate of concern and action:
    • Annual Data Book
    • Interactive on-line data systems
    • Supplemental publications
  • State level strategy, to equip advocates and inspire state policymakers to action:
    • Funded network of state grantees
    • Publish regular data at the state and county level
    • Seen as independent voice for children
national kids count
National KIDS COUNT

KIDS COUNT Data Book

  • Annual ranking of all 50 states on overall child well-being, using 10 key indicators
  • Simple/easily understood measures, available regularly and reliably
  • Designed for use by advocates to mobilize for action
kids count indicators
KIDS COUNT Indicators
  • National Data Book – 10 indicators used to rank states

– Child Poverty – Single Parent Families

− Infant Mortality – Low Birth Weight Babies

    • Child Deaths – Teen Deaths
    • Teen Births – High School Dropouts
    • Idle Teens – Underemployed Parents
  • Over 100 more indicators available on-line
why choose just these 10 indicators
Why Choose Just These 10 Indicators?
  • Reflect wide range of factors affecting the well-being of children (health, educational attainment, economic security)
  • Reflect children’s experiences across developmental stages
  • Permit legitimate comparisons because they are consistent across states and over time
  • Have policy relevance and communication value
  • Track well with other major child indicator studies that include many more indicators
state level kids count
State-Level KIDS COUNT
  • State-Level “KIDS COUNT” organizations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and USA Virgin Islands:
    • Most are state-level child advocacy organizations, some universities and three state government agencies
    • Have become trusted sources of data on children and families
how do we measure results
How Do We Measure Results?

Three measures:

  • Media presence
  • Level of knowledge and use of KIDS COUNT by policy makers
  • Effectiveness of state-level child advocacy: what happens as a result of this work?
strong media presence
Strong Media Presence
  • Release of Annual Data Book

Average 1,000 newspaper articles annually (reaching an avg. 50 million readers)

Average 500 airings on 250 stations annually (reaching an avg. 16 million viewers)

  • Media’s on-going use of KIDS COUNT data: average of 2 – 3 stories per week across the country
kids count results state level policy results
KIDS COUNT Results:State Level Policy Results
  • Across the USA, the data-based advocacy work of the KIDS COUNT network has influenced the improvement of programming and increased funding for vulnerable children and families
kids count results selected state level policy results 2006
KIDS COUNT Results:Selected State Level Policy Results - 2006
  • Illinois: Advocacy of the KIDS COUNT organization -- Voices for Illinois Children – helped Illinois become the 1st state to offer high quality preschool to all 3 – 4 year olds ($45 M additional funding allocated).
  • Texas: Center for Public Policy Priorities used their KIDS COUNT work to help secure $561 M for children’s health care and a $248 M increase in child welfare programs in Texas.
  • Arizona: Using research and data-based advocacy, Children’s Action Alliance in Arizona helped to make this one of the few states to eliminate waiting lists for child care subsidies and increase the age for children to leave foster care to 21.
one effort to learn internationally
One Effort to Learn Internationally
  • In 2002, an International learning exchange brought together nine nations to share approaches to data-based advocacy
    • Canada, Mexico, The Netherlands, Chile, UK, Israel, Jordan, Ireland and the USA
  • Many differences in strategy, but common principles
  • What emerged:
    • A shared framework
    • International learning
    • Joint work: Children of North America Project
children of north america project
Children of North America Project

Canada

The Canadian Council on Social Development

Mexico

Red por los Derechos de la Infancia en Mexico

(The Children’s Rights Network in Mexico)

USA

The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Population Reference Bureau

growing up in north america
“Growing Up in North America”

Objective

  • To raise the visibility of children’s well-being of children across a region where the economic, social, and cultural links have grown stronger through past decades

Primary Products

  • An indicator report series that is readily accessible and a credible source of information for families, communities, public and private policy makers, and opinion leaders
    • Overview
    • Health and Safety
    • Economic Well-Being
    • Personal and Civic Engagement
data based advocacy what we re learning
Data-Based Advocacy: What We’re Learning
  • Regularly producing data, allied with the right communication methods, can alter public awareness
  • Data-based advocacy helps move people toward action
  • In our country, comparisons (and some competition) can lead to action
  • Data gains power when the capacity of advocates is regularly supported