The Policy Impact on Immunizations

Number of California Kindergartners with Permanent Medical and Personal Belief Exemptions: 2011-2019

California Kindergartners with Immunization Exemptions Graph

Two notable immunization trends emerged with the passage of California’s vaccine law which took effect in July 2016. Under SB 277 parents can no longer cite personal beliefs as a reason to not vaccinate their children. Since then, immunization rates increased overall and reached a key threshold statewide. Additionally, the number of exemptions from immunizations for personal beliefs dropped while the number of exemptions for medical reasons increased.

Trend 1: The state has achieved herd immunity for the most contagious diseases, including measles. In 2019, 95% of California kindergartners were immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases. However, 27 counties have not reached the 95% threshold, among counties with data.

Trend 2: The number of exemptions for personal beliefs dropped precipitously from a high in 2014 of 16,817, in accordance with the law. In contrast, exemptions for permanent medical reasons increased from 991 in 2014 to 4,812 in 2019.

Protecting individual children and our community of children from vaccine-preventable diseases leads to healthier lives and reduced health care costs. The 2016 policy change directly and immediately impacted immunization rates statewide, but local communities also require the same high level of immunization rates to maximize protection. Continued policy efforts can bring the same level of protection to all children.

Learn more about immunizations »

In the Legislature

On Monday, the governor signed Senate Bill 276, changing how medical exemptions are processed. It establishes an electronic, standardized, statewide medical exemption system by January 2021 and requires physicians to use this system when granting a medical exemption. Staff at the State Department of Public Health will review exemptions in the system to identify physicians with five or more submissions and schools with immunization rates under 95%.

Data in Action

Data can be more than just numbers. Along with Kidsdata News, we also share information on critical topics, from recent news to data findings on our Twitter. Follow us @Kidsdata. We’re here to answer any questions or partner to highlight key children’s health issues. Reach out to us: kidsdata@lpfch.org.

Recently Released Data

We recently released data about Immunizations and Prenatal Care. See links to the latest here.

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Unintentional Injuries Are Leading Cause of Death for Children

Child/Youth Death Rate, by Age and Cause: 2014-2016

Death Rate by Age and Cause table

Unintentional injuries were a leading cause of death for ages 1-24 overall in California from 2014-2016. The death of any young person is a tragedy, but deaths from unintentional injuries, or preventable injuries, such as motor vehicle accidents, drowning, and falls are particularly troubling. For children ages 1-4, the most common cause of unintentional injury-related death is drowning; for 5- to 24-year-olds, the most common cause is motor vehicle accidents. Since at least 1996, unintentional injuries have been the leading cause of death for youth ages 15-19.

The data reveal that preventable deaths do not discriminate. Unintentional injuries is the leading cause of death across all racial/ethnic groups, with the exception of African American youth, for whom homicide was the leading cause of death.

Protecting children and youth from unintentional injuries requires both a local and system-level approach, from addressing risk factors, to promoting awareness. Changes in public policies can help reduce risk factors associated with unintentional injuries such as implementing a graduated driver license program to age 21 (Assembly Bill 1267). We must spread awareness on how best to protect our children, especially when their leading cause of death is preventable.

Learn more about how California children and youth are faring »

Additional Resources

The California Coalition for Children’s Safety and Health offers safety tips and best practices on drowning prevention, bicycle safety, and more.

According to a recent Kidsdata survey, our most popular topic areas are: physical health; child care and education; and mental, emotional, or behavioral health. Whatever your interest, you can be the first to know about new and recently released data by signing up for customized data alerts. Select the topics, geographies, or demographic groups that interest you, and you will receive an email alert when data are released.

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Using Data for Action: Resources and Success Stories

Data have the power to transform the way we see the world, helping us identify health disparities and drive policy change. The Data in Action section of kidsdata.org provides tips and tools for creating data-driven change, as well as success stories of how the Kidsdata community is using data to support children’s health and well-being.

Resources
Learn how to leverage data to create meaningful change. Three helpful tools:

Success Stories
Data can be used to advocate for polices and legislation, assess community needs, strengthen grant proposals, and much more. Read examples of how the Kidsdata community is using data for action, from analyzing bills in the California Legislature to supporting county-wide initiatives and demonstrating the need for children’s health programs in local communities.

How are you using data for action? Share your story.

Recently Released Data

We recently released data about Death and Dental Care. See links to the latest here.

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Sexually Transmitted Infection Rates Vary Widely by Race/Ethnicity

Sexually Transmitted Infections by Race/Ethnicity, 2015

Recent data show disparities in teen sexual health by race/ethnicity in California. Just over 34,000 youth aged 10 to 19 were diagnosed with Chlamydia in 2015. African-American youth were six times more likely to contract Chlamydia compared to White youth and 13 times more likely than Asian/Pacific Islander youth of the same age.

Being informed about sexual health is vital to teen’s overall well-being. Some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) rarely show any symptoms, which if untreated may lead to infertility and other adverse health outcomes. When youth are informed about sexual health, they may be encouraged to practice safer sex or choose abstinence, lowering their risk of contracting STIs. Furthermore, creating conversations about consent has an important role, as does public health policies that encourage using confidentiality laws to protect teens. Efforts to improve teen sexual health in California should also include more opportunities for STI screenings among teens.

Learn more about teen sexual health in California »

Additional Resources

Love Matters is an online space for young adults around the world to openly talk and ask questions about reproductive health, safer sex and relationships.

Recently Released Data

We recently released data about Teen Sexual Health. See links to the latest here.

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Newly Re-designed Family Structure Topic

Learn more about California children’s living arrangements by visiting our re-designed Family Structure topic. New and updated data include expanded information about family demographics and housing situations:

The first three sets of data are available for counties, cities, school districts, and legislative districts. The last set of data is available by race/ethnicity and other breakouts.

No matter the family configuration, having at least one reliable and supportive connection with an adult is associated with positive long-term emotional and physical health outcomes for children. A vulnerable population that may be at particular risk of lacking this connection are youth who do not live with parents or other relatives in a stable home environment. About 10 percent of California 7th graders in 2015-2017 did not live in their parents’ or other relatives’ home. Programs and policies that foster relationship development, from promoting responsible fatherhood to expanding home visiting programs, help ensure that all children have a safe and stable home environment.

Learn more about Family Structure »

Additional Resources

The Fred Rogers Center, a legacy of Mr. Rogers, provides research-based tools to capitalize on the power of simple interactions in caring relationships between children and caregivers.

Recently Released Data

We recently released data about Family Structure and Intimate Partner Violence. See links to the latest here.

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Obesity Rate Remains High for California Kids

5th Grade Students Who Are Overweight or Obese, 2018

The latest data from 2018 show that 41% of 5th graders in California were overweight or obese. Particularly troubling are the large race/ethnicity disparities, including 54% of Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and 49% of Hispanic/Latino 5th graders that were overweight or obese, as compared to fewer than 30% of their Asian American and white peers.

Consistent with these findings, the percentage of children who met the California Department of Education fitness standards also showed disparity by race/ethnicity. Fewer than 20% of Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic/Latino 5th graders met all fitness standards compared with 35% of Asian American and white students.

Reducing childhood obesity rates requires more than personal effort. Public policies are necessary to ensure equitable access to opportunities for physical activity in and out of school, and affordable healthful foods, among other factors. As the state continues to advance anti-obesity policies, we must ensure that these efforts effectively address racial/ethnic and other inequities, engage local communities in solutions, and utilize strategies that are culturally and linguistically appropriate.

See policy recommendations to reduce overweight and obesity rates »

Additional Resources

Learn more about California’s approach to addressing childhood obesity.

Foundation News: Dr. Edward Schor to Retire

Edward Schor, MD, who for the past eight years has led work at the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health to promote children’s health in California and improve the system of care for children with special health care needs, will retire July 2. Read Dr. Schor’s reflections on the Foundation’s progress towards elevating the priority of children’s health and how to continue creating a system that works for children and families.

Recently Released Data

We recently released data about weight and physical fitness. See links to the latest here.

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Our Impact on Children’s Health in California

Early in 2019, the Public Health Institute Survey Research Group conducted a survey to help the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health better serve the field and assess the impact of the Kidsdata program on improving children’s health and well-being. We are grateful to the 198 respondents who shared their opinions and comments. Your feedback will apprise our Foundation and inform Kidsdata’s future activities. Some key findings are below, and others will be shared in future issues of Kidsdata News. You can access the full report here.

Elevating the priority of children’s health
Over half of respondents use kidsdata.org for presentations, community planning and writing reports. More than four out of ten use it for grant proposals and evaluating community outcomes. Respondents also shared that kidsdata.org has helped with regional disaster planning, constituent outreach, training health professionals, and quality improvement projects.

Using data for action

Over one-third of respondents were from a non-profit or other organization and another one-third were from a state, county, or city agency. Nearly every respondent indicated that Kidsdata has increased public awareness of issues related to children’s health and well-being in California (99%). An educator shared, “Kidsdata allows me to advocate for positions in an informed way.”

Looking ahead
The Kidsdata staff are dedicated to supporting your data and information needs so that you can devote your efforts to shaping children’s environments and experience and thus maximizing their health and development. We hope these survey findings will help you learn new ways to make the most of kidsdata.org in your work on behalf of children. As always, if you have feedback, please share with us at Kidsdata@lpfch.org.

Recently Released Data

We recently released data about gang involvement. See links to the latest here.

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Affordable Housing is Critical to Children’s Health

Households with a High Housing Cost Burden: 2013-2017

Homes with High Housing Cost Burden California Map

California housing is among the most costly in the nation, so finding affordable housing is a significant challenge for many middle- and low-income families. In 2013-2017, an estimated 43% of California households were housing cost-burdened, meaning households spent at least 30% of income on housing.

As the state grapples with affordable housing, it is important to remember how it impacts children in California. A lack of affordable housing can lead to housing instability and crowded households, thus affecting a child’s social development and educational outcomes, from disrupting friendships and social support networks, to inconsistent school experiences and classroom instruction. Additionally, residential overcrowding has been linked to the prevalence of certain infectious diseases and psychological distress. Providing stable and quality housing is critical to positive health outcomes for children.

Learn more about housing affordability »

Additional Resources

A report from the Public Policy Institute of California looks at the future of California housing and provides recommendations to expand affordable housing and address homelessness.

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Mental Health Issues Account for Largest Percentage of Hospitalizations Among Youth

Hospitalizations by Primary Diagnosis: 2017

The highest percentage of hospitalizations among youth ages 0-17 in California was for mental health reasons in 2017. Mental diseases and disorders accounted for 14% of hospitalizations, as measured by discharges. This is almost twice the rate due to asthma/bronchitis (8%) and over three times the rate for pneumonia/pleurisy (4%) and seizures/headaches (4%). The rate of hospitalization due to mental health issues has been on the rise since 2008. Prior to then, the largest percentage of hospitalizations were asthma-related.

Expanding prevention, diagnosis, and early intervention services can help reduce mental health-related hospitalizations. Care coordination and discharge planning are also critical in addressing hospital admissions and re-admissions. This includes a standardized, child and family-specific framework for the transition from hospital to home care and a shared care plan created with the family and care team that takes into account the family’s circumstances and capabilities and timely follow up with the family after discharge.

Learn more about hospitalizations among youth »

Additional Resources

Throughout the month of May we are highlighting indicators related to children’s emotional health on our Twitter. Follow us @kidsdata and help bring awareness to this critical public health issue.

Teens are invited to share their ideas how to reduce the stigma and social barriers teens face when seeking mental health treatment. The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities is hosting an essay contest to gather ideas from 16 to 18 year old teens. Deadline is May 31st.

Recently Released Data

We recently released data about infant mortality. See links to the latest here.

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Licensed Child Care Not Accessible to Many

Percentage of Children with Working Parents for Whom Licensed Child Care Slots Are Unavailable: 2017

Licensed Child Care Slots Availability Map

The amount of licensed child care in California is inadequate to meet the needs of working families. Over three-quarters of children ages 0-12 did not have licensed child care slots available to them in 2017. Child care access varied across counties and were highest in Kings County where slots were unavailable for 89% of children. In nearly all counties, rates have remained the same or worsened since 2010.

Center-based infant care is especially problematic in California which was ranked the least affordable state for infant care in 2017. That cost in 2016 was $16,452 a year which was more than fair market rent for a two-bedroom unit in the majority of counties in that year. In 24 counties, residents paid over $1,000 more per year for center-based infant child care than for a two-bedroom unit.

The challenge to find and pay for child care is a major source of stress for many families raising children in California. Policies such as extending family leave after birth can make a difference. Extended family leave would delay entry into child care thus reducing pressure on the child care system and decreasing cost to families while offering a stronger start for infants.

Learn more about child care in California »

Child care data are available on kidsdata.org through our partnership with the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network. The Network promotes affordable, quality child care through research, education, and advocacy.

Data in Action

The California Campaign to Counter Childhood Adversity (4CA) advocates for policies that address childhood adversity and promote protective factors. On May 1, participants in the 4CA Policymaker Education Day, including Kidsdata, will visit legislative offices in Sacramento to share how childhood adversity impacts communities. Customized legislative district profiles about childhood adversity are now available for download.

Recently Released Data

We recently released data about hospitalizations, housing affordability, and unemployment. See links to the latest here.

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