KIDS COUNT factbook 2009
October 13, 2009
Contact: Anne Roberts, Executive Director
Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy
405/236-5437, ext 101; Cell: 405/627-9877
or Ann Salazar at 405-236-5437, ext 102; Cell: 405-831-2806
2009 OKLAHOMA KIDS COUNT FACTBOOK RELEASE
The 2009 Oklahoma KIDS COUNT Factbook publication on the well-being of Oklahoma's children and youth, published by the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) was released October 13th at OICA’s Fall Legislative Forum. This year KIDS COUNT introduces a new component with the Kids Count Data Center. With this web site, users can create their own charts, graphs and maps for individual counties, states or the nation, by going to http://datacenter.kidscount.org/.
The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy teamed with the Annie E. Casey Foundation to provide this comprehensive online tool referred to as the Community Level Information for Kids System (or CLIKS), to provide information about children and families living in our state and communities, allowing users to build reports at no cost.
The 2009 KIDS COUNT Factbook shows there is little change for Oklahoma children and youth – and that is not good news. This year, the same nine indicators that improved in recent years still show improvement when compared to data from the middle of the 1990’s or early 2000’s. Even so, Oklahoma’s recent progress continues to erode. This year’s factbook shows a slowing of improvement in all categories of births to teens, and in infant mortality and child death.
Some improvement is recorded for the following nine indicators, when compared to a decade or more ago: Births to Young Teens (ages 15-17), Births to Older Teens (ages 18 and 19), Births to Teens (ages 15-19), High School Dropouts, Juvenile Violent Crime Arrests, Infant Mortality (under age 1), Child Deaths (ages 1-14), Teen Deaths (ages 15-19), and Child and Teen Deaths (ages 1-19).
“Though Oklahoma’s teen birth data may show improvement when compared to 15 years ago, the current teen birth numbers and rates show an alarming increase from 2006 to the present, dramatically reversing the progress made from 1991 to 2005”, according to Sharon Rodine, OICA Youth Initiatives Director. “Teen pregnancy brings with it an array of negative health, education, early childhood and economic consequences. Our persistently high teen birth rates are due, in part, to our state’s lack of investment in effective prevention programs.”
The bad news, entrenched problems continue to resist improvement.The same three indicators worsened when compared to data from the middle of the 1990’s. Indicators in two areas — Very Low Birthweight Infants and Low Birthweight Infants — substantially worsened, while one area — Child Abuse and Neglect Confirmations — slowed its steep declines of recent years. The following three indicators worsened over time:
• Low Birthweight Infants, (less than 5 ½ pounds)
• Very Low Birthweight Infants (less than 3 pounds, 5 ounces)
• Child Abuse and Neglect Confirmations
Bonnie Bellah, the Director of Oklahoma’s statewide Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition and the Oklahoma Infant Alliance explains, “Improvements in infant mortality have stalled in the last ten years. What we are only recently beginning to understand is that the overall health of the mother plays a large role in the health and mortality of infants. It’s no longer just about early prenatal care. Now it’s about preconception care. We should be working to get all women of child-bearing age healthy regardless of if they are planning to get pregnant.”
This 13th Annual Oklahoma KIDS COUNT Factbook also presents a profile of the status of children and youth on a county-by-county basis as shown on maps and tables in the Factbook. The book can be accessed on line at:
More detail is available at the KIDS COUNT Data Center:
The Factbook updates 12 indicators of child, family and community well-being. Anne Roberts, Executive Director of OICA explains, “OICA provides current data in order for state and local leaders to make decisions about the allocation of their limited resources. This one-of-a-kind document provides solid, research-based data that helps us understand what and where the biggest challenges are, and guides us toward policy and budgetary decisions to meet those challenges.”
The 2009 Oklahoma KIDS COUNT Factbook, funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Oklahoma corporations and businesses, and individuals is available in hard copy or online. The larger selection of data is available online, along with the book in its entirety. For more information call 405/236-5437.
The Oklahoma KIDS COUNT Factbook is produced by the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, a broad-based, multi-issue organization that promotes programs and policies designed to improve the health and wellbeing of Oklahoma’s children and youth and families. The Annie E. Casey Foundation and local supporters fund the Oklahoma KIDS COUNT project.
There is also a how-to video on the KIDS COUNT Data Center home page: http://datacenter.kidscount.org/Help.aspx
Release is at OICA Fall Legislative Forum on Children’s Issues on October 13th at 12:00 luncheon in Grand Ballroom, UCO, George Nigh University Center.