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Data on child well-being: How does the nation measure up?

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Data on child well-being: How does the nation measure up?

Understanding how our youth are faring is an important aspect of not only reinforcing, but also strengthening the supports that afterschool provides. Two separate reports released this summer delved into the state of child well-being across the country, measuring our nation’s progress over time.   The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2019 Kids Count Data Book: State Trends in Child Well-Being provides a detailed overview of national and state trends, while Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Raising High School Graduation Rates, authored by Civic and the Everyone Graduates Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, investigates the discrepancies in teen graduation.

For the past three decades, the Annie E. Casey Foundation has been tracking the demographic and geographic changes within the youth population–elevating data as a tool to think about how to ensure the happiness and healthiness of all children in our nation. The latest edition of the Kids Count Data Book examines the growth and changes in child population by looking at 16 index measures of child well-being across four domains: health, education, family and community, and economic well-being. By outlining trends in the American childhood experience, the Kids Count Data Book highlights the areas we are on track, and where there is room for growth.

Since 1990, the nation’s child population has grown to almost 74 million. Accompanying this growth are a number of developments that the Casey Foundation have identified as promising improvements in the well-being of youth and their families. Looking at changes over the past seven years alone, Kids Count data shows that on a national level, there are more parents with secure employment (73 percent), more children with access to health insurance (95 percent), more teens graduating high school on time (85 percent), fewer teen pregnancies, and fewer children living in poverty (18 percent).

Nonetheless, Kids Count has identified key areas where progress can still be made. Most poignant is the trend of racial inequity that has persisted across domains in their evaluation of child-wellbeing, such that children of color are more likely to remain below the national average despite the social and economic gains they achieve. To put this into perspective, Kids Count data studies the number of eighth-grade public school students who do not meet the National Assessment of Educational Progress’s standards of proficiency in math. Between 2009 and 2017, African-American and Latino students showed improvements in math achievement, with percentages of eighth graders not proficient in math dropping down to 87 percent and 80 percent respectively. However, these rates are still far above the national average of 67 percent, and even more so from their White peers, of which only 57 percent are not proficient. This equity gap raises important concerns for a nation in which nearly half of its population (47 percent) are children of color. 

GradNation echoes similar sentiments about the equity gap in their annual report on high school graduation rates. According to Building a Grad Nation, a record number of students are graduating high school on time (85 percent). However, this graduation rate is uneven across demographic groups, with White and affluent students persistently graduating at higher rates. GradNation explains that in order to meet its campaign goal of a 90 percent graduation rate for all students by 2020, it is critical to see graduation rates rise within specific demographic subgroups—namely students of color, low-income students, English Language Learners, students with disabilities, and homeless students. Adding another level of complexity to this issue, GradNation reveals out that while the vast majority of students already attend high schools with a 90 percent graduation rate, the students who do attend low-graduation-rate high schools (67 percent graduation rate or lower) are disproportionately low-income students and students of color.

Afterschool programs have long been working towards alleviating the academic disparities that exist among our nation’s youth. Through a variety of enriching learning opportunities that range from robotics to community service, afterschool is reaching underserved communities and helping students make important academic and behavioral strides to reach their full potential. As the Casey Foundation and GradNation both point out, for students to continue to make education advances, our nation needs to keep prioritizing investments in education; and to help policy makers make decisions that benefit our children, we need good data.

The Casey Foundation identifies the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census as “a critical opportunity to collect data necessary to guide policymakers,” who use census data to allocate a wide scope of federal funding that amounts to more than $880 billion each year, including the 21st Century Community Learning Center initiative, the only federal funding stream that is dedicated to afterschool. According to Census Bureau estimates from the 2010 Census, approximately one million children were uncounted, and this is only looking at children 4 years of age and under. Outreach to families, particularly those who are typically left out of the census count, is just as important as ever, to ensure that all children receive the supports they need to improve their well-being.

To get more information about trends on child well-being, see 2019 State Trends in Child Well-Being and Building a Grad Nation.

Valley Heights Community Education: Helping their rural community through the pandemic

This blog post is adapted from a program spotlight in "How Afterschool is Supporting Learning and Recovery During COVID-19," a June 2020 issue brief from the Afterschool Alliance. Started in the mid-1990s as a response to more households having both parents working outside the...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/21/21

The Arkansas-Mississippi Delta After 3PM: Parents give programs high marks, unmet demand soars

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New Data on Afterschool: Demand grows, opportunity shrinks

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Grad Nation report highlights challenges, solutions towards a 90% graduation rate

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BY: Bella DiMarco      11/09/20

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BY: Erin Hegarty      09/28/20

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BY: Bella DiMarco      08/27/20

Help us tell the story of afterschool AND win a chance at a cash prize

We need your help to keep the drumbeat going on the ways in which COVID-19 is impacting afterschool and summer programs and the young people and families who rely on them. By completing this short survey, which should take no more than 10-15 minutes of your time, you are helping to tell your...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      08/20/20

Survey: 70% of programs are still serving kids during COVID

For the past four months, I have heard stories from the field about the hardships afterschool program staff are seeing in their community and the creative ways they have adapted their programming to support the children and families they serve. From adjusting operations to serve children of...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      08/04/20

New issue brief: How afterschool is supporting learning and recovery during COVID-19

During a media briefing last week, “The School Reopening Dilemma: New Survey Sheds Light on the Role Out-of-School-Time Programs Can Play in Educating Students and Supporting Families This Fall,” it was revealed that 70 percent of afterschool program providers reported serving students...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      07/31/20

Visualizing the skyrocketing demand for afterschool programs during COVID-19

This article was originally published on Graphicacy's medium.com account on January 21, 2021. It is being reposted here with their permission. The Afterschool Alliance came to Graphicacy looking to create a compelling interactive experience with freshly gathered...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/22/21

The Arkansas-Mississippi Delta After 3PM: Parents give programs high marks, unmet demand soars

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BY: Ursula Helminski      01/11/21

Los Angeles After 3PM: 9 in 10 parents want more afterschool support

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BY: Ursula Helminski      01/05/21

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BY: Ursula Helminski      12/16/20

New Data on Afterschool: Demand grows, opportunity shrinks

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BY: Charlotte Steinecke      12/08/20

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BY: Nikki Yamashiro      11/20/20

New report: SEL+OST=Perfect Together

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BY: Erin Hegarty      08/28/20

4 key takeaways from program providers' summer planning

Last month, the Afterschool Alliance released a blog digging into regional differences from the COVID-19 program provider survey results. Here, we will explore a few more notable differences, specifically in regards to programs’ summer plans and what the future holds.  This...

BY: Bella DiMarco      08/27/20

Data on child well-being: How does the nation measure up?

Understanding how our youth are faring is an important aspect of not only reinforcing, but also strengthening the supports that afterschool provides. Two separate reports released this summer delved into the state of child well-being across the country, measuring our nation’s progress over...

BY: Rina Moss      09/03/19

To elevate equity, diversity, and inclusion, go deeper into your quality standards

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BY: Guest Blogger      08/23/19

America After 3PM: Middle School Youth

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BY: Chandler Hall      02/03/21

Visualizing the skyrocketing demand for afterschool programs during COVID-19

This article was originally published on Graphicacy's medium.com account on January 21, 2021. It is being reposted here with their permission. The Afterschool Alliance came to Graphicacy looking to create a compelling interactive experience with freshly gathered...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/22/21

America After 3PM: Black and Latinx Communities

The Afterschool Alliance’s fourth edition of America After 3PM—which provides a detailed accounting of the circumstances and conditions of U.S. children during the hours of 3 to 6 p.m. and compares afterschool program participation and unmet demand statistics for 2020 with results from...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/13/21

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BY: Nikki Yamashiro      01/12/21

The Arkansas-Mississippi Delta After 3PM: Parents give programs high marks, unmet demand soars

The Delta region of Arkansas and Mississippi is an area rich in history, natural beauty, and promise, but one that also faces great challenges, with high poverty and limited economic growth. When we look at afterschool in the Delta, we see a similar story, with great potential for afterschool...

BY: Ursula Helminski      01/11/21

Los Angeles After 3PM: 9 in 10 parents want more afterschool support

In Los Angeles, afterschool programs earn a 95 percent satisfaction rate from parents, and a whopping 90 percent of parents support more public investments in afterschool. But the unmet demand for programs in Los Angeles is soaring, as parents cite lack of programs, cost, and transportation as...

BY: Ursula Helminski      01/05/21

Atlanta After 3PM: Parents want more afterschool support

In Atlanta, GA, a high number of families want to enroll their children in afterschool programs – but barriers such as cost stand in the way, pointing to a lack of affordable afterschool options. For every child in an afterschool program in Atlanta, two more are waiting to get in. These...

BY: Ursula Helminski      12/16/20

New Data on Afterschool: Demand grows, opportunity shrinks

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BY: Charlotte Steinecke      12/08/20

While collaboration between youth-serving organizations continues, gaps in service still exist

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BY: Bella DiMarco      05/14/20

Key findings from Wave 3 of our program provider survey

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BY: Alexis Steines      11/02/20

New report: SEL+OST=Perfect Together

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BY: Erin Hegarty      08/28/20

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BY: Bella DiMarco      08/06/20

Survey: 70% of programs are still serving kids during COVID

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BY: Nikki Yamashiro      08/04/20

New issue brief: How afterschool is supporting learning and recovery during COVID-19

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BY: Nikki Yamashiro      07/31/20

More children are getting afterschool meals that boost their health and learning

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BY: Guest Blogger      11/01/19

New issue brief: Afterschool fostering protective factors

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BY: Nikki Yamashiro      09/24/19

The Impact of Summer: New report offers evidence of the short- and long-term value of investments in summer learning programs

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BY: Erin Hegarty      12/21/20

Grad Nation report highlights challenges, solutions towards a 90% graduation rate

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BY: Bella DiMarco      11/09/20

New resources from NRPA: How parks and recreation has responded to the pandemic

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BY: Erin Hegarty      09/28/20

Urban Institute: 21st CCLC among 8 policy strategies for school-age child care

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BY: Bella DiMarco      09/01/20

New report: SEL+OST=Perfect Together

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BY: Erin Hegarty      08/28/20

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BY: Bella DiMarco      04/09/20

Afterschool turns the peak time for crime into a time of opportunity for young people

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BY: Jodi Grant      10/16/19

Closing the Childhood Equity Gap: New report provides a data-driven look into the prioritization of children at the state and local levels

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BY: Erin Hegarty      06/26/20

New issue brief: Afterschool and the juvenile justice system

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BY: Erin Hegarty      05/26/20

Engaging the Arts Across the Juvenile Justice System: New report outlines opportunities for engagement

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BY: Erin Hegarty      05/22/20

The Power of Mentorship: Adult Friends for Youth makes a difference in redirecting youths’ lives

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BY: Erin Hegarty      12/19/19

Afterschool turns the peak time for crime into a time of opportunity for young people

For close to 20 years, we at the Afterschool Alliance have been dedicated to the cause of expanding afterschool opportunities because we know the life changing impact programs can have on children, on families, and on communities.  Today, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids released a new report that...

BY: Jodi Grant      10/16/19

New issue brief: Afterschool fostering protective factors

In Colorado, the Montrose Recreation District’s Summer Enrichment Program creates a welcoming environment to help students feel safe to share their feelings. At Jóvenes de Puerto Rico en Riesgo, Inc. (JPRR), also known as Puerto Rico Youth at Risk (PRYR), one-on-one...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      09/24/19

America After 3PM: Black and Latinx Communities

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BY: Charlotte Steinecke      01/13/21

Grad Nation report highlights challenges, solutions towards a 90% graduation rate

Photo by Charles DeLoye on Unsplash A recent webinar from Grad Nation, Building a Grad Nation: Meet the Moment 2020!, marked the release of their report, A Grad Nation 2020: Progress and Challenge in Raising High School Graduation Rates. The annual report discusses recent progress...

BY: Bella DiMarco      11/09/20

Closing the Childhood Equity Gap: New report provides a data-driven look into the prioritization of children at the state and local levels

A new report released by Save the Children provides the first-ever ranking of counties in the United States where children are most and least prioritized. The report, aptly entitled, “The Land of Inopportunity: Closing the Childhood Equity Gap for America’s Kids,” shows that where...

BY: Erin Hegarty      06/26/20

Engaging the Arts Across the Juvenile Justice System: New report outlines opportunities for engagement

Arts education programs can play a significant role in preventing youth from getting involved with the juvenile justice system and supporting the mental wellbeing and successful transition out of the system for those already involved, according to a new report released by the Education Commission...

BY: Erin Hegarty      05/22/20

Afterschool turns the peak time for crime into a time of opportunity for young people

For close to 20 years, we at the Afterschool Alliance have been dedicated to the cause of expanding afterschool opportunities because we know the life changing impact programs can have on children, on families, and on communities.  Today, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids released a new report that...

BY: Jodi Grant      10/16/19

New issue brief: Afterschool fostering protective factors

In Colorado, the Montrose Recreation District’s Summer Enrichment Program creates a welcoming environment to help students feel safe to share their feelings. At Jóvenes de Puerto Rico en Riesgo, Inc. (JPRR), also known as Puerto Rico Youth at Risk (PRYR), one-on-one...

BY: Nikki Yamashiro      09/24/19