Some things seemingly never change. Some things seem to always be changing. In 1990, the first car with a GPS system was sold and the first webpage was posted to the World Wide Web. TV critics panned 1990’s new television hit, “The Simpsons,” predicting an early demise of that production while movie critics were confident that Die Hard 2 was one too many of that cinematic premise. Who could have ever thought where those technological innovations and entertainment brands would go?
In 1990, another “Who would have thought it?” idea began as the Annie E. Casey Foundation, with support of UPS, released its first National KIDS COUNT Data Book which has become the annual report card on America’s kids. KIDS COUNT provides detailed data on children so academicians, policy makers, and advocates can track how kids are doing and know where to focus efforts to make progress. Kentucky Youth Advocates is proud to have been part of that venture from its inception.
On Tuesday, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, in collaboration with Kentucky Youth Advocates, released the 25th edition of the national KIDS COUNT Data Book. The book highlights where children in Kentucky stand in 2014 but also looks back to see how policy change has impacted child well-being over time. So, what do the numbers say about Kentucky’s youngest citizens in 2014? What are the lessons to be learned from comparing and contrasting where the Commonwealth’s children were in 1990 and where they are a quarter of a century later? And finally, what can leaders in Frankfort, families, faith communities, schoolhouses and nonprofits do to create a future in which Kentucky is a top ten state for kids rather than limping in as 35th in the nation when it comes to child well-being?
I will begin to answer those questions next week and in the weeks to follow as I focus each week on a different domain on which KIDS COUNT is built which include: economic well-being; health; education; and, family and community.
In the coming weeks:
- You will learn about one sector that is a spectacular portrait of how policies and investments emanating from Washington and Frankfort can, in fact, make a positive difference for children on a day to day basis: child health.
- You will be challenged to look at a second sector which frankly is a crisis in our state and should be at the center of upcoming election debates: child poverty and economic security.
- A third sector poses that old query of, “Is the glass half full or is it half empty?” The answer is, “Yes!”: education.
- And finally, we will look at a fourth sector which calls for local communities to become creative and collaborative to make progress: family and community.
So stay tuned and in the meantime, check out the newly released Data Book.