Date Published: March 28, 2016

KIDS COUNT in Colorado! is an annual publication of the Children’s Campaign, providing state- and county-level data on child well-being factors including child health, education, and economic status. Since its first release in 1993, KIDS COUNT in Colorado! has become the most trusted source for data and information on Colorado children and is relied upon by lawmakers, community leaders, and child advocates to inform policy debates and community discussions on issues impacting kids.

The Children’s Campaign released the 2016 report on March 28, 2016 at the Colorado State Capitol with Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Futures in the Balance

Imagine the complex factors that influence a child’s opportunities in life set on either side of an old-fashioned scale. The teeter-totter of each child’s scale can be influenced by parents, schools, communities and, in many ways, public policies. Positive experiences and influences—a loving and nurturing caregiver, a safe and stable place to call home, or high-quality educational opportunities—are placed on one side. These factors help tip the scale in the positive direction and make it more likely that a child will thrive. Negative experiences—abuse, neglect, violence, poverty, or racism—push the scale in the negative direction. For some children, the weights on the negative side are so heavy that we need to work harder to balance them out.

This year’s KIDS COUNT in Colorado! report shows some developments that will help tip the scale toward the positive for many children: More Colorado children are covered by health insurance than at any point in recent history. Fewer children are living with the daily stresses of poverty. More children have access to full-day kindergarten and preschool programs.

But for too many of our state’s children, the odds remain weighted against them. Despite the decline in our state’s child poverty rate, more than 190,000 Colorado children still lived in poverty in 2014, with 82,000 living in extreme poverty. Colorado school districts identified nearly 25,000 students who were experiencing homelessness. More than 240,000 children lived in households that were uncertain about whether they would have enough food for their families.

When we ensure children get what they need to learn and grow, we are not only outweighing past negative experiences, but ensuring they are able to handle future challenges as well. Our goal as a state must be to ensure that every child has strong and stable support during their earliest years, access to affordable health care and healthy foods, and a high-quality education. By stacking the scale with these positive factors, we help give every Colorado child the best possible chance of success.

Special thanks to our generous KIDS COUNT in Colorado! sponsors – the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Jay & Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Colorado, and Adolph Coors Foundation.

2016 KIDS COUNT in Colorado!