KIDS COUNT in Colorado! Frequently Asked Questions
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What is KIDS COUNT?
What is the purpose of the KIDS COUNT research and reports?
What has been the impact of KIDS COUNT?
What are the core indicators in the KIDS COUNT in Colorado! data book?
Where can I find KIDS COUNT reports and data?
What does FPL stand for?
Why doesn’t KIDS COUNT include policy recommendations?
How can I use KIDS COUNT?
KIDS COUNT is a national and state-by-state project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation to provide data about and track the well-being of children in the United States. At the national level, the principal activity of the initiative is the publication of an annual KIDS COUNT Data Book, which uses the best available data to measure the educational, social, economic and physical well-being of children by state.
There is also a network of state-level KIDS COUNT projects that provides more detailed, annual county-by-county pictures of the condition of children, including the KIDS COUNT in Colorado! report published by the Colorado Children’s Campaign. The first national KIDS COUNT Data Book was published in 1990. The Colorado Children’s Campaign has proudly produced KIDS COUNT in Colorado! since 1993.
At the Colorado Children’s Campaign, we believe that what gets measured gets changed. By providing policymakers and citizens with benchmarks of child well-being, KIDS COUNT seeks to enrich local, state and national discussions of ways to secure better futures for all children. It is intended to gauge the seriousness of the problems facing children and to provide data to inform policy decisions pertaining to children. Put simply: KIDS COUNT exists to measure child outcomes and contribute to public accountability for those outcomes, resulting in a model for data-driven advocacy.
The national and state-level reports have received extensive public and media attention and provided grist for a broad range of debate and activities to improve the lives of children. In Colorado, KIDS COUNT has been the source of information for child advocates, community leaders, policymakers and organizations, as well as a catalyst for public and private initiatives to improve children’s lives statewide. At the Colorado Children’s Campaign, we believe the more the public knows about the needs and problems of coming generations, the more likely we are to find the resolve, the resources and the strategies for effectively addressing them.
There are approximately 40 indicators that are consistently reported in KIDS COUNT in Colorado! Included are population data, indicators related to vulnerable families, family economics, child and maternal health and education statistics. The full list of indicators is also available online at the KIDS COUNT Data Center.
The KIDS COUNT in Colorado! reports and newly updated data are available through the Colorado Children’s Campaign at www.coloradokids.org or by phone at (303) 839-1580.
FPL stands for Federal Poverty Level. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issues annual guidelines defining the level of income at the poverty line for the United States. In 2012, the federal poverty level for a family of four was an income of $23,050 or less a year. A percentage of the federal poverty level is frequently used to determine eligibility for social service programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) and free or reduced price lunch programs. This measure of poverty is widely recognized as outdated and inadequate and does not account for changes in the cost of living from place to place. According to more realistic estimates, families need approximately twice the official poverty level to meet basic needs for their families.
The Colorado Children’s Campaign believes that KIDS COUNT must remain focused on data and research, providing the credible, unbiased information that will then drive our and other committed children’s advocates’ focus for years to come.
The Colorado Children’s Campaign intends for KIDS COUNT to be used by a variety of stakeholders including policymakers, community leaders, journalists, academics and child advocates to guide their work throughout the year. The data included in KIDS COUNT provide critical information on the status of Colorado children and identifies our state’s greatest challenges and opportunities for improvement. We hope that KIDS COUNT users read KIDS COUNT now but also refer to it frequently throughout the year as they determine the focus and goals of their work. We also welcome KIDS COUNT users to contact the Children’s Campaign should they need guidance or more information on the data included in KIDS COUNT.