The Annual Kids Count from the Annie E. Casey Foundation is out. The report focuses on the well-being of children in Arizona and around the country. We learned more from Siman Qaasim, President and CEO of Children’s Action Alliance.
Arizona’s report recently came out and “what we try to do is take a 10 year look back and try to find out what are those larger trends, where are things headed for children’s well being,” said Qaasim.
The report consists of data before the pandemic hit but includes some strong gains in child well-being.
“The teen birth rate has gone dramatically down over the last 10 years…the rate of high school graduation has gone up slightly, but tremendously for Native American kids, they jumped from 44% to 67% in that period,” said Qaasim.
Qaasim also said the rate of juveniles in juvenile detention has just gone down dramatically because of an emphasis on prevention programs for youth that are at risk and the rate of uninsured children has gone down.
Before the pandemic,”more children are living in poverty, which is surprising and the median income annual income for families went down when adjusted for inflation by about $2,200. So that tells me that our economic recovery and our economic success hasn’t been invented for all families even though there’s higher participation in the labor force,” said Qaasim.
Even though more individuals are working, they’re not “bringing home the same amount of money,” said Qaasim.
The data also shows that 65% of children in Arizona are children of color and, “when you disaggregate the data by race and ethnicity, you’ll see really stark disparities, particularly in education and attainment and other factors: health insurance coverage, poverty, poverty rates,” said Qaasim.
The data could shift dramatically post-pandemic but even now, “we want lawmakers to look at some of the data indicators when we’re not doing so well. And to say, we’re gonna take strategic action,” said Qaasim.
You can go to azchildren.org to find out information on the data book, its trends, and how to get engaged.