Kidsdata is hiring!

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Do you love kidsdata.org? Have you ever thought about joining our team? Kidsdata is hiring a Senior Manager, Data and Research, to oversee the quality of the site’s content and to ensure that the site continues to help improve the health and well-being of children in California.

The ideal candidate will be deeply committed to the mission of Kidsdata and the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health. S/he will have a research-based understanding of the social-economic, systemic forces affecting the health and well-being of children, their families, and their communities.

S/he also will have expertise regarding California’s data on child health and well-being, and how data, technology, strategic partnerships, and communication strategies can be used effectively to improve children’s lives. S/he will have demonstrated success in managing large-scale, multi-faceted projects, exemplary interpersonal and communication skills, a strong track record of professional success, and a strong team orientation.

This is a full-time position, with excellent benefits, based in Palo Alto, CA.

Read the complete job description.

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40% of CA 5th graders are overweight or obese, 2015 data show

Two of every five 5th graders in California’s public schools are overweight or obese, according to 2015 data from the California Department of Education that are now available on Kidsdata.

All California public school students in grades five, seven, and nine are required to take the Physical Fitness Test, which includes an assessment of body composition. Students are considered overweight or obese if their body composition scores reach beyond the Healthy Fitness Zone, which represents a level of fitness that offers protection against the diseases that result from sedentary living.

Not only are the percentages of students who are overweight or obese high in California, the data reveal substantial disparities between ethnicities. 56% of Pacific Islander 5th graders for example, were considered overweight or obese—more than double the percentage of Asian American 5th graders.

The data also vary widely by county. In some counties, less than 20% of 5th graders were considered overweight or obese, but in one, the percentage reached above 50%.

Nationwide, the childhood obesity rate has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents over the past 30 years. Today, about one third of children ages 2-19 are overweight or obese in the U.S. Overweight children are at higher risk for a range of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, asthma, and some types of cancer; they also are more likely to stay overweight or obese as adults.

California has been a leader in advancing policies to combat childhood overweight and obesity, from banning soft drinks and unhealthy food in schools to requiring nutrition labeling in chain restaurants. Yet the state continues to battle an obesity epidemic among children. Reducing childhood obesity requires policies that promote equitable access to safe places to play and exercise, frequent opportunities for physical activity in and out of school and affordable healthy foods and beverages. Public policy can make a difference by changing the environment in which children make food choices, live, go to school, and play.

Related Data:

Weight

Physical Fitness

 

Helpful Links

California Project LEAN, California Department of Public Health & Public Health Institute

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Childhood Overweight and Obesity

Healthy Eating Research, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Let’s Move! America’s Move to Raise a Healthier Generation of Kids

Increasing Socioeconomic Disparities in Adolescent Obesity, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Socioeconomic Status and the Health of Youth: A Multi-level, Multi-domain Approach to Conceptualizing Pathways, Psychological Bulletin

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Black youth overrepresented among felony arrests in California


As a whole, California’s juvenile felony arrest rate declined by 65% between 1998 and 2014, according to updated data on Kidsdata. All counties with available data saw declines during this period. Still, Black youth continue to be disproportionately represented in the juvenile justice system, both statewide and nationally.

Black youth in California are arrested at a rate that is higher than expected, given their representation in the population. In 2014, Black youth accounted for nearly one-fourth of all juvenile felony arrests in the state, though they made up only 5% of the state’s child population.

Between 1998-2014, California’s Black child population dropped by one-third. Yet during that same time period, the percentage of felony arrests involving this population grew by 18%. Arrest data for White and Latino children more closely mirror their proportion of the state’s population (arrest data for other demographic groups are not available at this time).

In 2014, Black youth in California had felony arrest rates that were more than four times that of Latino youth, and more than six times that of White youth. And that gap has widened over time. Specifically, 50 of every 1,000 Black youth were arrested for felonies in 1998, but that was only two times the rate of Latino youth, and three times the rate of White youth.

Youth who come in contact with the juvenile justice system tend to be at increased risk for substance use and dependency, dropping out of school, early pregnancy, and injury. Youth who have been detained have higher rates of attempted suicide and psychiatric disorders than youth in the general population.

Research has identified a number of risk factors for juvenile crime. A history of maltreatment, significant educational challenges, poverty, separation from family members, parental incarceration, exposure to violence in the home and community, mental illness, and substance use or dependency each are related to an increased likelihood of involvement with the juvenile justice system.

Policymakers within the justice, social services, and education systems can play a role in improving the way society addresses juvenile crime. Steps should be taken to address the mental health needs of juvenile offenders by offering cognitive behavioral therapy, behavioral programs, group counseling, mentoring, and assistance in graduating high school—all in a culturally congruent way (PDF). Furthermore, better policies can be implemented to decrease the likelihood of committing additional offenses, and to assist with rehabilitation and re-entry following release from detention.

Related Data:

Helpful Links

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids—California

National Center for Youth Law: Juvenile Justice

“We Ain’t Crazy! Just Coping With a Crazy System” Pathways into the Black Population for Eliminating Mental Health Disparities (PDF), California Dept. of Mental Health

An Impact Evaluation of Three Strategies Created to Reduce Disproportionate Minority Contact and the Detention Population, 2013, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

Breaking Schools’ Rules: A Statewide Study of How School Discipline Relates to Students’ Success and Juvenile Justice Involvement, Council of State Governments Justice Center and Public Policy Research Institute

The Prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) in the Lives of Juvenile Offenders, Journal of Juvenile Justice

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Proportion of uninsured children in CA drops 40% in past five years

As 2015 comes to a close, Kidsdata is pleased to deliver some very good news: More California children than ever have health coverage. Between 2010 and 2014, the estimated percentage of children who were uninsured in California fell to 5%, a 40% drop, according to the most recent data available on Kidsdata and collected by the American Community Survey. The shift, which represents an estimated 350,000 more children who now have insurance coverage, is largely due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). California’s downward trend echoes national trends: across the country, the rate of uninsurance fell to 6%, a 25% drop, during the same time period.

Still, with nearly 500,000 children in the state lacking coverage, many gaps remain. An estimated 11 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native children, for example, were uninsured in 2014—double the percentage for all children and higher than all other racial/ethnic groups. Immigrant children, especially those with undocumented parents or those who are themselves undocumented, are at particular risk of being uninsured and without regular health care.

Children with health insurance are more likely to receive needed medical care and have improved school performance, and they are less likely to have costly hospitalizations. Providing high-quality, accessible, and affordable health care to children requires comprehensive insurance coverage for all children; an appropriately trained and compensated provider base, including a sufficient number of subspecialists; parental understanding about what care is needed and how to obtain it; and effective systems of care, including “medical homes.”

Continued, effective implementation of the ACA, including efforts to streamline enrollment and renewal processes, will influence progress in future years.

Related Data:

Health Care (summary)

 

Helpful Links

California Coverage & Health Initiatives

The Children’s Partnership: Children’s Health Care/Health Reform

California 2014 Children’s Health Insurance Fact Sheet, American Academy of Pediatrics and National Academy for State Health Policy

Children’s Coverage at a Crossroads: Progress Slows, Georgetown University Center for Children and Families

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): Accomplishments, Challenges, and Policy Recommendations, American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Child Health Financing

Portrait of Promise: The California Statewide Plan to Promote Health and Mental Health Equity (PDF), California Dept. of Public Health, Office of Health Equity

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Health and Health Care of Children, American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Pediatric Research

Kidsdata Tip

Want an overview of the most important data trends in children’s health this year? Find all of our 2015 advisories here.

 

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How to Embed Kidsdata on Your Own Site

embedding_2015One of Kidsdata’s most helpful features is the ability to “embed” an interactive and customizable data visualization within your own website. Any time the data you select are updated on Kidsdata, your site will update automatically.

The process is simple. Just choose and modify the visualization you want, click on Download & Other Tools in the upper right corner of the graphic, and follow the short process to get the embed code. See this page for an example. The graphic on your site will retain the same functionality that is available on Kidsdata, so your users can customize and export data directly from your site.

Embedding is just one of several ways Kidsdata makes it easy to download and share data.

  • Our PRINT option provides a printer-friendly version of your screen, including your customized visualization, along with contextual information about why the data are important, how children are faring, and policy implications.
  • COPY tools insert your custom visualizations into Word documents or PowerPoint slides, complete with citations and links back to the site for easy reference.
  • You can use our DOWNLOAD tools to export your data into Excel.
  • Our PDF option offers a print-friendly overview of your selected topic, and can include customized visualizations.
  • With a click on the icons below your data, you can SHARE information through Facebook, Twitter, or email.
  • Another option is to just copy the selected URL from your browser and save, send, and share—your customization will remain intact.

Need more specific instructions or information about other useful Kidsdata features? See our brief videos.

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Child care out of reach for an estimated 75% of children with working parents in CA


The mismatch between child care needs and availability in California is growing, according to data released today by a partnership between Kidsdata and the California Child Care Resource & Referral Network. The Network’s 2015 California Child Care Portfolio shows that in 2014, licensed child care was available for only an estimated 25% of children ages 0-12 with working parents in California. In some counties, availability was as low as 13%. In addition, the total number of slots available has declined in recent years—in the last year alone, the state lost the capacity to serve 18,000 children.

On top of that, many child care providers do not fill all of their slots due to shortages of qualified staff or other issues, and providers’ schedules do not always meet the needs of families. For example, in 2014, only 2% of licensed child care centers offered child care during non-traditional hours, including evening, weekend, overnight, flexible/rotating, or drop-in care. While family child care homes are more likely to provide care during non-traditional hours, they represent only about a third of the licensed child care slots in the state, and their numbers are on the decline, as well.

Research indicates that quality early care and education is related to higher levels of behavioral functioning, school readiness, academic achievement, and earnings. In such settings, children learn to relate to others and their environment while developing skills to successfully navigate social, emotional, and educational challenges.

However, finding affordable, quality child care is a major challenge for many families, and access differs based on geography, race, and income. In California, infant child care costs made up an estimated 14% of the median annual income for married couples and 44% for single mothers in 2013. In 2014, the average annual cost of licensed infant care was more than $13,000 in child care centers and nearly $8,500 in family child care homes. Care for preschool-age children was less expensive: more than $9,000 in child care centers and almost $8,000 in family child care homes.

To provide quality, affordable child care to all eligible children in the state, experts recommend increasing state funding for child care programs and tying that funding to measurable program quality. Other recommendations include providing full-day preschool for families with working parents, and properly training and supporting early child care educators and caregivers.

 

Related Data:

Early Care and Education (summary)

 

Helpful Links

2015 California Child Care Portfolio, California Child Care Resource & Referral Network

California Child Care Resource & Referral Network

Community Care Licensing Division (CCLD) Facility Search, California Dept. of Social Services

Office of Child Care, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children & Families

A Matter of Equity: Preschool in America (PDF), U.S. Dept. of Education

California Preschool Study, RAND Labor and Population

High Quality Child Care Is Out of Reach for Working Families, Economic Policy Institute

Putting it Together: A Guide to Financing Comprehensive Services in Child Care and Early Education, Center for Law and Social Policy

Starting Strong: Why Investing in Child Care and Development Programs Is Critical for Families and California’s Economic Future (PDF), California Budget & Policy Center

 

Kidsdata Tip

What else is new on Kidsdata? See a list of past advisories, which highlight new data and changing trends on our site. Want to make sure you don’t miss important updates? Sign up for our data e-alerts and email advisories.

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Mental Health Once Again Most Common Cause of Hospital Admission Among CA Children

Man under stormy rainy clouds.

Nearly 40,000 California children ages 5-19, or 5 of every 1,000, were hospitalized for mental health issues in 2014, according to the most recent data available on kidsdata.org. In fact, since 2008, Mental Diseases and Disorders have accounted for the largest share of hospital admissions of children ages 0-17 in California.

These numbers only reflect the most acute mental health challenges (i.e., those requiring hospitalization). Other self-reported data suggest that the prevalence of less acute, but still distressing, mental health issues is even greater. Specifically, 30% of California students in 7th, 9th, and 11th grades, along with those in non-traditional schools, reported feeling sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more during the past year, according to 2011-2013 data. When broken down by gender, the data show that 36% of girls reported depression-related feelings versus 23% of boys. And greater percentages of Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and Latino students reported depression-related feelings than students from other racial/ethnic backgrounds—35% and 32%, respectively.

Physical and mental health are intricately linked. Youth with depression are more likely to engage in suicidal behavior, drop out of school, use alcohol or drugs, and have unsafe sexual activity, in addition to having difficulties with school and relationships.

The vast majority of mental health problems begin in adolescence and young adulthood, with half of all disorders starting by age 14. Screening, early identification, and treatment are critical, as untreated mental illness can disrupt children’s development, academic achievement, and their ability to lead healthy, productive lives.

Experts recommend shifting from a focus on prevention and treatment of mental illness to promoting mental wellness. Mental health is influenced by socioeconomic, biological, and environmental factors, and promoting positive emotional health requires coordinated, cross-sector strategies that target underlying causes. Click here for a detailed list of policy recommendations.

Related Data:

Emotional/Mental Health (summary)

Helpful Links

MentalHealth.gov, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

Parent’s Guide to Teen Depression, HelpGuide.org

Portrait of Promise: The California Statewide Plan to Promote Health and Mental Health Equity (PDF), 2015, California Dept. of Public Health, Office of Health Equity

Realizing the Promise of the Whole-School Approach to Children’s Mental Health: A Practical Guide for Schools, 2011, Education Development Center

Use of Medication Prescribed for Emotional or Behavioral Difficulties Among Children Aged 6-17 Years in the United States, 2011-2012, National Center for Health Statistics

Kidsdata Tip

Need to find something fast? Type your keywords into the search bar on our home page. Kidsdata offers data broken down by topic, region, and demographic group, but the search bar is sometimes the fastest route to finding your data!

 

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Still too many SIDS deaths in CA

SIDS

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden death of an infant less than one year old that cannot be explained after a thorough investigation. Between 1996 and 2013, California saw a 50% decline in its rate of SIDS, Kidsdata reports this month for SIDS Awareness Month. Despite the decline, SIDS claimed 0.3 for every 1,000 live births—that’s 30 infants for every 100,000 born—in California in 2011-13.

SIDS is the state’s third-leading cause of death for infants, after birth defects and disorders related to short gestation and low birthweight. Between 1994 and 2013, California’s overall infant mortality rate fell by 33%, from 7.0 to 4.7. Nationally, the infant mortality rate has fallen by 25% since 1994, but at 6.0 deaths for every 1,000 births, the rate is still higher than most other developed countries (PDF).

Rates of infant mortality vary by race, with African Americans/Blacks as well as Multiracial children experiencing rates of 10.2, more than twice the rate for white, Latino, and Asian/Pacific Islander infants. Nationally, American Indians/Alaska Natives have the highest rates of SIDS, a disparity that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are addressing via its 1,000 Grandmothers Project, which encourages tribal elders to mentor young Native parents regarding safe sleep practices for babies.

Some of the leading causes of infant mortality, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, are preventable and can be addressed through public policy. California currently promotes newborn screenings for potentially fatal birth defects, as they can help avert long-term health consequences, and even death, through early identification and treatment.

Public policy also can affect the risk factors for SIDS and preterm births. Risk factors can be reduced through many different strategies, such as ensuring that women are in good health before conception, avoid smoking and substance abuse while pregnant, forgo elective deliveries before 39 weeks gestation, are provided with breastfeeding support, and that women and other caretakers are taught how to provide a safe, healthy living environment for infants.

Public education regarding SIDS should be culturally appropriate, and target a wide constellation of potential caregivers for infants to ensure that babies sleep on their backs rather than their stomachs, on firm mattresses without loose bedding, and that they sleep alone in a bassinet or crib rather than co-sleep with a parent or caretaker.

Related Data:

Infant Mortality (summary)

 

Helpful Links

Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Reproductive Health

Infant Mortality Toolkit, 2013, National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health

International Comparisons of Infant Mortality and Related Factors: United States and Europe (2010) (PDF), 2014, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Vital Statistics Reports

Preconception Women’s Health and Pediatrics: An Opportunity to Address Infant Mortality and Family Health, 2012, Academic Pediatrics

Understanding Racial and Ethnic Disparities in U.S. Infant Mortality Rates, 2011, National Center for Health Statistics

Kidsdata Tip

Want to feature a Kidsdata chart or map in your poster or presentation? Click the “Download & Other Tools” link on every indicator to copy images into Word, Powerpoint, Excel, or to create a PDF. You can also embed images directly onto your web site. Click here for more information.

 

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California streets ‘home’ to 11,365 youth, 2015 count reveals

More than 10,000 transitional-age youth (ages 18-24) and nearly 1,000 unaccompanied minors (ages 0-17) were found to be living in places not meant for human habitation, such as cars, parks, abandoned buildings, transit stations, and on streets, during the 2015 national “Point-in-Time” homeless count in January.

For the past ten years, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development has required communities receiving federal funding for homeless prevention programs to conduct an annual count of homeless individuals within one 24-hour time period. For more information about the 2015 California count, read the California Homeless Youth Project’s full report, We Count, California!: Lessons Learned from Efforts to Improve Youth Inclusion in California’s 2015 Point-in-Time Counts (PDF).

Although critical to enhancing our understanding of the severity of this issue, the count of unsheltered homeless children and youth likely does not reflect the true extent of youth homelessness in California communities. For example, nearly 300,000 public school students in California, 5% of all public school students, were identified as homeless at some point during the 2013-2014 school year, per the McKinney-Vento Act education definition.

Homelessness contributes to a range of mental and physical health risks as well as academic challenges for children and youth. California has the second highest rate of homeless youth in the country and ranks 48th out of 50 states in addressing the issue. For example, two-thirds of California counties lack shelters for homeless youth.

Policies that can help alleviate youth homelessness include identifying families at risk of homelessness, offering housing support services to help families remain in their homes, explicitly addressing the needs of homeless students in Local Control and Accountability Plans, providing employment and job training for parents and youth, and connecting youth to trustworthy adults and/or support organizations.

 

Related Data:

Homelessness (summary)

 

Helpful Links

We Count, California!: Lessons Learned from Efforts to Improve Youth Inclusion in California’s 2015 Point-in-Time Counts (PDF), 2015, Lin, J., Petry, L., Hyatt, S., & Auerswald, C.

California Coalition for Youth (CCY)

California Youth Crisis Line (CYCL)

California Homeless Youth Project, California State Library, California Research Bureau, State of California

National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY)

National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE)

United States Interagency Council on Homelessness

Portrait of Promise: The California Statewide Plan to Promote Health and Mental Health Equity, 2015, California Department of Public Health Office of Health Equity

Child Trends Databank: Homeless Children and Youth

 

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Childhood Cancer Diagnoses Rise in Northern California Counties

California’s rate of childhood cancer diagnoses has risen by 6% since the 2000-2004 time period, reaching 17.5 per 100,000 in 2008-2012. California’s upward trend in the rates of new cancer diagnoses of children/youth ages 0-19 closely mirrors that of the nation, but in a number of northern California counties, rates have risen precipitously between 2000-2004 and 2008-2012. Though not tested for statistical significance, in Napa and Marin counties, rates rose by 69% and 58%, to reach 22.8 and 21.5 per 100,000, respectively—the highest in the state. In San Mateo, Sacramento, Sonoma, and San Francisco, all counties with incidence rates of about 20 per 100,000, rates rose between 20-39% during the same period.

The state’s childhood cancer diagnosis rate varies by ethnicity: white children have the highest rate (19.2 per 100,000), compared to Native American children, who have the lowest (12.2 per 100,000). When it comes to cancer survival however, white children have the highest five-year survival rate (84%) compared to African American children, who have the lowest survival rate (75%).

Similar to adults, survival disparities for children with cancer may be associated with socioeconomic status, health coverage, early diagnosis, quality of care, and genetic factors.

To ensure that all children afflicted with cancer have the best possible health care, policies should prioritize providing care in the context of a “medical home,” supporting pediatric centers of excellence, supporting quality of life services, and working toward a unified, efficient, and comprehensive payment system for cancer treatment. Currently, families must navigate a complicated web of service systems with confusing payment policies, which can result in delayed or denied services for children and financial hardship for families.

 

Related Data:

Cancer (summary)

 

Helpful Links

California Cancer Registry, California Dept. of Public Health

National Cancer Institute: Childhood Cancers, National Institutes of Health

Cancer and the Affordable Care Act, 2015, American Society of Clinical Oncology

Costs of Environmental Health Conditions in California Children, 2015, California Environmental Health Tracking Program

Long-Term Survivors of Childhood Cancers in the United States, 2009, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, Mariotto, A. B., et al.

 

Kidsdata Tip

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Follow kidsdata on Facebook and Twitter to learn more. Cancer is California’s second-leading cause of death for children ages 5-14.

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