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Copyright 2004

Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy
420 N.W. 13th Street
Suite 101
Oklahoma City 73103
Phone: 405-236-5437
Fax: 405-236-5439

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Press Release

October 13, 2004

Contact: Anne Roberts, Executive Director
Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy
Office: 405/236-5437 Cell: 405/627-9877

“Youth and Young Adults Building Oklahoma’s Future”
Release of the 2004 Oklahoma KIDS COUNT Factbook

(Oklahoma City) – There are over half a million Oklahomans over the age of 14 and under the age of 25. More than one hundred thousand of them live in poverty. Almost twenty thousand of these Oklahoma youth are disconnected, neither working nor in school. More than five thousand older girls (ages 18 and 19) are already mothers. Almost seven hundred teens live in foster care each month. Each year, more than thirty-five hundred arrests of teens for drug or alcohol crimes are made in Oklahoma. One hundred sixty-five teens die accidental or violent deaths each year.

These alarming facts are reported in the 2004 Oklahoma KIDS COUNT Factbook that will be released today at the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy’s (OICA) 2004 Legislative Forum. This latest book in the series tracking the well-being of children across the state includes a special focus section, “Youth and Young Adults Building Oklahoma’s Future.”

Anne Roberts, OICA Executive Director, says, “Most Oklahoma young people are on track, learning what they need to know to succeed as adults. However, far too many of our kids are facing circumstances and engaging in behaviors that could hinder their successful transition to adulthood. We want to focus the eyes of our state on the situation of these young people and offer ideas to help them thrive.”

The Factbook also updates the annual indicators of child, family and community well-being tracked for the last nine years for Oklahoma and each of its 77 counties. Roberts explains, “OICA continues to produce the Factbook because we know how difficult it can be for state and local leaders to make decisions about the allocation of their limited resources. The up-to-date information in the factbook clearly shows where the problems are.”

The Factbook uses seven benchmarks to profile the status of children and youth in Oklahoma and its counties. These benchmarks, when taken together, provide one way to help determine child, family and community well-being. Four of the benchmarks in the 2004 KIDS COUNT Factbook show improvement at the state level, including infant mortality, births to young teens, child deaths and juvenile violent crime arrests. Two of the benchmarks, low birthweight and child abuse and neglect, have worsened. This year’s Factbook introduces new baseline data for high school dropouts. These seven indicators are also updated for each county.

Released today at OICA’s Legislative Forum at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, the 2004 Oklahoma KIDS COUNT Factbook is available in hard copy or online. For more information call 405/236-5437 or go to