The The 2018 Florida County Child Well-Being Index, released today by Florida Kids Count, offers mixed news for kids. For the state overall, there have been improvements in the Economic domain. Still 1 in 5 of Florida’s children lives in poverty. In Education, improvements were observed in math proficiency and graduation rates, but work remains in getting children enrolled in quality early childhood educational programs and in reading and language arts proficiency. Among the Health indicators, there is continued progress in getting children insured and reducing alcohol and substance use among teens, but there has been no progress in helping youngsters achieve healthy weights or in the percent of low birthweight babies. In the Family and Community domain, the rates of verified abuse and neglect have fallen over the past five years, as have contacts with the Juvenile Justice system. However, there are more children living in single parent households, an indicator of economic stability, and more children living in areas of concentrated poverty.
The report includes profiles of each of Florida’s 67 counties, as well as county-by-county rankings.
The index is based on the national Kids Count Databook, an annual ranking of states published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation that compares child well-being on 16 key indicators. The state index is valuable tool for shining a spotlight on needed efforts to improve child well-being during the First 1,000 Days, including:
- Supporting families to get better job skills and education
- Ensuring access to quality healthcare and early childhood education
- Supporting prevention programs beginning with prenatal mothers.