We’ve all heard the adage, “What gets measured gets done.” Measuring children’s well-being is an important step in the fight to improve the lives of children. To help support such efforts, Children Now has released the 2014-15 California County Scorecard of Children’s Well-Being, an interactive online data tool that delivers a timely, robust, easy-to-use snapshot of children’s overall well-being within California and in each of the state’s 58 counties.
This tool tracks 29 indicators measuring children’s education, health and child welfare, and economic well-being. Each indicator is measured in terms of what we want for children, like “asthmatic children who have been given an asthma management plan” or “children who are not living in communities of concentrated poverty.” To help understand how each county is performing, the Scorecard provides the lowest and highest county percentages as well as the state average for each indicator. And, when available, the Scorecard provides data over time to gauge progress as well as data by race and ethnicity to help identify disparities that exist within a county.
With this tool we are able to monitor the state’s progress on issues like school discipline, high school graduation and access to healthcare services. For example, when looking at the indicator “suspensions that are limited to serious offenses, not ‘willful defiance,’” we see that across the state only 57 percent of suspensions were not for willful defiance. Moreover, we see that San Benito had the highest (80%) percentage of suspensions that were not for willful defiance while Imperial County had the lowest (27%). And when we look at “12th graders who graduate on time,” we see that across the state only 80 percent of 12th graders are graduating within four years with counties ranging from a 4-year graduation rate of 32 percent to 95 percent. And within the state, on-time graduation rates vary from 91 percent for Asian students to 68 percent for African-American students.
The Scorecard provides county and community advocates and other stakeholders with a roadmap that examines the interconnectedness of children’s needs and helps them to quickly identify the areas of greatest need so that they can together work to improve the lives of kids.
Click here for the Scorecard.