Tomorrow CAHS will be presenting the Kids Count data book for 2013 (1 pm, Legislative Office Building, Hartford - be there!) tracking seventeen indicators in child well-being in the state of Connecticut. The book has four main focus areas:
- Economic well-being: town by town data on child poverty, EITC, reduced and free school lunch, SNAP recipients and Care 4 Kids enrollment.
- Health and Safety: town by town data on low and very low birth babies, pre-natal care, infant mortality, child death and Husky insurance.
- Education: town by town data on Pre- Kindergarten experience, CMT grade reading goals (4th grade), CAPT 10th grade goals and graduation rates.
- Family and community: town by town data of substantiated child abuse and neglect, teen birth and preventable teen deaths.
The recession has proved challenging, and the indicators on the data set point in that direction. There are, however, some bright spots in some areas:
- Family and community: two of the three indicators, teen births and preventable teen deaths, had substantial improvements, with 20%+ drops. Abuse numbers, however, got considerably worse.
- Health and safety: all but one indicator improved or remained stable. Even in this context, the only indicator that worsened (infant mortality) only had a modest increase between 2004 and 2009.
- Education: all four indicators had minor improvements in the past few years; preK and graduation rates being close to flat.
- Economic well being: this set of indicator was mixed - poverty is up, as well as kids eligible for free or reduced price lunch at schools. The safety net, however, has helped softening the blow; income support programs expanded eligibility and covered many new families, providing additional support when and where it was needed.
Overall, the situation is not a good one: there are more kids in poverty, and the huge disparities between the poor inner cities and wealthy suburbs in the state have widened. The safety net, however, has helped to limit the damage done by the recession, and our education system, although still showing a huge achievement gap between poor and wealthy districts, is slowly getting better.
We are not improving fast enough, that´s for sure. And we need to do more. But it is not all bad news.
We will release the full report and data from the Kids Count book tomorrow at our event at the Capitol, as well as online. The full report includes town by town data for all indicators, and will be available for download after the event. Join us tomorrow to hear from CAHS´staff and our panelist analyzing the data, and get a free copy of the book.