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Every Kid Counts in the District of Columbia

Twelfth Annual Fact Book, 2005

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Document date: January 20, 2006
Released online: January 20, 2006

The nonpartisan Urban Institute publishes studies, reports, and books on timely topics worthy of public consideration. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders.

Note: This report is available in its entirety in the Portable Document Format (PDF). (File Size: 3 MB)

The text below is a portion of the complete document.


Purpose of the Fact Book

This fact book is the twelfth annual report produced by the D.C. KIDS COUNT Collaborative on the lives of children and their families in the District. The purpose of the fact book is to provide data annually about the well being of children in the District of Columbia and to place statistics within a meaningful context. Ten of the indicators reported herein were selected by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Center for the Study of Social Policy to mirror those reported in the National KIDS COUNT Data book that the Casey Foundation produces annually. The D.C. KIDS COUNT Collaborative has continued to expand the original list to include additional indicators that are relevant to the District of Columbia. We encourage suggestions for additions from our readers, which we will try to fill if the needed data are available.

This publication provides a broad perspective on the status of children and youth in the District. We seek to inform and educate our readers about the issues affecting children and their families in the District. We encourage community residents, policy makers, professionals, and others who work with and/or on behalf of children and families to create conditions that foster the optimal health and development of our children.

As usual, we stress the importance of family and community in the lives of our children. We at D.C. KIDS COUNT believe that an approach based on systems theory is needed to affect real change in the District. Accordingly, children, families, communities, and government institutions are viewed as an interconnected whole. Thus, when family support systems are dysfunctional in one area, the entire system may be impacted. In devising solutions to the problems facing children in the District, the interactions and relationships among and between the components of the system must be understood and the systemic impact of any changes considered.

We urge community leaders to use this report, in conjunction with previous reports, for formulating strategic plans and enacting policies that support children and families in the District. We hope that the fact book will serve as a catalyst for service providers, business leaders, local government, funders, and community members to continue efforts to collectively address the issues presented in this report so that, ultimately, all families in this great city can function optimally.

Introduction

This is the 12th edition of the KIDS COUNT Annual Fact Book for the District of Columbia. The Fact Book brings together a variety of indicators describing the well being of the District's children and their families. We update existing indicators each year and add new indicators as they become available. For instance, this year's Fact Book includes a new analysis of elementary student performance based on school location.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation provides funding to all 50 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia to produce annual, state-level KIDS COUNT reports. In addition, the Foundation publishes a national-level report every year describing the well-being of children across the United States.

This Fact Book begins with a Report Card, which provides an easy-to-read summary of how the District compares to last year on selected indicators of child well-being. The Report Card shows whether each indicator has changed for the better, become worse, or remained the same compared to the previous year's report. In this year's Report Card, 22 out of 40 indicators of child well-being changed for the better, 17 out of 40 indicators changed for the worse, and the remaining indicator (overall poverty rate) did not change at all. More indicators changed for the better this year than last year (22 versus 13 indicators, respectively) while fewer changed for the worse (17 versus 19 indicators, respectively). (Note: Last year's Report Card had only 37 indicators.) While the positive changes are a sign of optimism, many of the District's children and their families continue to face serious obstacles.

Following the Report Card is the Recommendations and Strategies section, developed by the D.C. KIDS COUNT Collaborative and based on data in the Fact Book. The recommendations are summarized in another easy-to-read table and the supporting text describes what the collaborative would like to see accomplished in support of District's children and their families in the coming years.

The next section, Major Trends and Changes, is the executive summary of the Fact Book. It provides a quick overview of the main body of the report.

Section IV, Selected Indicators of Child Well-Being in the District of Columbia, contains the majority of information on the welfare of children in the District. This section presents and discusses the data indicators in detail, mainly for the District as a whole, along with figures and tables showing trends. The indicators are organized into seven sub-sections: the District's Population and Economy (A), Economic Security (B), Family Attachment and Community Support (C), Homeless Children and Families (D), Child Health (E), Safety and Personal Security (F), and Education (G).

While Section IV discusses the well-being of children across the city (that is, on average), Section V compares several of the data indictors, such as child health, mortality, and child welfare, for children across the eight District wards and across racial and ethnic groups.

The following section, Section VI, presents four maps showing the geographic concentrations of infant mortality, low-weight births, deaths for 1- to 19-year olds, and births to teenage mothers in the city's 39 neighborhood clusters. Accompanying the maps are data tables with the values of the four indicators in each neighborhood cluster.

Throughout the Fact Book, we describe the sources of our data as well as define what the indicators mean. In compiling the indicators, we obtained data from a variety of reliable District and federal sources and endeavored to use the most recent data available. Data for the 2005 KIDS COUNT Fact Book was compiled from several sources: the D.C. Department of Health, State Center for Health Statistics Administration; the D.C. Administration for HIV/AIDS; the D.C. Bureau of Sexually Transmitted Disease Control; the D.C. Income Maintenance Administration; the District of Columbia Courts; the D.C. Office of Early Childhood Development; the Community Partnership for Prevention of Homelessness; the U. S. Bureau of the Census; and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among others. Some of the data we present are complicated and may require a more thorough explanation than is provided in the main text. In these cases, the reader is referred to Section VIII, where we define and describe the limitations of the more complicated data sources.

Finally, we should note that the figures reported in this Fact Book may not always match those shown for the District of Columbia in the national KIDS COUNT Data Book published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The data sources for similar indicators may differ across the two reports, particularly where we rely on data from District of Columbia agencies and the national book uses data supplied by federal sources. These two sources sometimes use different methods for collecting and compiling the data. Neither source is necessarily better than the other.

Note: This report is available in its entirety in the Portable Document Format (PDF).



Topics/Tags: | Children and Youth | Families and Parenting | Washington D.C. Region


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