Spotlight on Children With Special Needs (Part 3): A Look at Access to Care

The third in our series on children with special health care needs (CSHCN) highlights strengths and challenges related to CSHCN’s access to services. Also read the second in this series, on characteristics of CSHCN, and the first, on family-centered care for CSHCN families.

Nearly 1.4 million California children ages 0 to 17—and more than 15 million children nationwide—have or are at increased risk for a chronic health condition and require care and services beyond that required by children generally.

Getting timely, appropriate, and affordable care is a major problem for many families with children with special health care needs (CSHCN). Major barriers to care, especially in California, include a fragmented system of services and an insufficient, shrinking workforce of pediatric subspecialists. Beyond service system barriers, social factors and practices—such as poverty and discrimination—influence access to care and, ultimately, health outcomes.

New and updated 2022 data from the National Survey of Children’s Health reveal both bright spots and areas for action in access to health services for California’s CSHCN.

Bright spots include:

Areas for action include:

Read about how we can support California CSHCN and their families.

Funding for KidsData’s latest information on CSHCN is provided by the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health.

KidsData in the News

Mental Health in High Schools

The Baker Institute’s report Mental Health in High Schools: A Houston Survey cites the KidsData News piece “Hospitalizations for Mental Health Issues Were Rising Before Pandemic.”

Santa Clara County Children’s Data Book [PDF]

KidsData is cited on several topics throughout the 2024 Santa Clara County Children’s Data Book.

U.S. Birthrate Hit New Low in 2023

Deseret News quotes KidsData director Beth Jarosz in an article on declining birth rates in the United States.

Children’s Health Resources

California Kids Wait Months or Years for Specialty Care. Here’s What Would Help

A California Health Report article explores how a shortage of pediatric specialists, coupled with limited numbers of providers who accept some health insurance plans, contributes to barriers to accessing specialty medical care for California’s children—particularly children with disabilities and those from lower-income families.

Firearms and Suicide Risk: Implications for Preventing Mortality and Morbidity Among California’s Youth

Researchers at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research found that 15- to 24-year-olds who said they had access to firearms were twice as likely to have made a suicide attempt than their peers without access to a gun. The study provides insight into the impact of firearm access on the psychological well-being of youth and young adults.

2024 U.S. National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ+ Young People

Among LGBTQ+ young people ages 13 to 24 in United States, 66% have experienced recent symptoms of anxiety, 53% have experienced recent symptoms of depression, and 39% have seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, according to new data released by The Trevor Project. Overall, more than 5 in 6 LGBTQ+ young people wanted mental health care in the past year; of those, half were not able to get it.

Adolescence Post-Dobbs: A Policy-Driven Research Agenda for Minor Adolescents and Abortion

Youth Reproductive Equity has released its research agenda on abortion policy and its impacts on adolescents under age 18. The report contains a state policy landscape on minors and abortion, principles for conducting equitable and actionable research, and strategies for overcoming challenges that have historically hampered research in this area.

Recently Released Data

We recently released data about access to services for children with special needs; housing affordability and resources; and unemployment. See links to the latest here.

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What Expiring Financial Supports, Rising Prices Mean for Child Food Security

Photo of a parent and three children in their kitchen having breakfast.

Changes in public assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic lifted thousands of Americans out of hunger. Households with children and those receiving food stamps were the main beneficiaries of increased tax credits, funding for social programs, and food assistance.

But in 2022, as such supports expired, food security dropped significantly. Pandemic financial benefits ended, 17 states withdrew from receiving extra support from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and food prices spiked across the country.

Read PRB’s research highlight.

Explore California strategies to improve children’s food security on KidsData.

Children’s Health Resources

Other Recent Work at PRB

New articles by PRB researchers and partners examine:

State Policy Considerations to Support Equitable Systems of Care for CYSHCN

A new brief by the National Academy for State Health Policy highlights three areas in which states are promoting equitable access to care for children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN): data collection, sharing, use, and quality; access to providers and specialists; and supports for family caregivers.

PACEs in California Data Report: CHIS, 2021

The California Essentials for Childhood Initiative and All Children Thrive California have released a new report on positive and adverse childhood experiences (PACEs) among California adults, based on data from the 2021 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS).

Undercounts of Young Children in the 2020 Census

The U.S. Census Bureau has released new estimates of 2020 Census undercounts and overcounts for children ages 0 to 4 at the state and county level. Previously, the Census Bureau estimated that, nationally, young children were undercounted by 5.4% in the 2020 Census. California’s undercount rate, 7.8%, was among the highest of any state in the nation.

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Spotlight on Children With Special Needs (Part 2): Who Are California’s Children With Special Health Care Needs?

Doctor holding hand of smiling child patient.

The second in our series on children with special health care needs (CSHCN) explores key demographic and health characteristics of CSHCN in California. Read the first in our series, on access to family-centered care for CSHCN families, here.

In 2022, an estimated 16% of California children ages 17 and under had special health care needs. This means that nearly 1.4 million of the state’s youngest residents had or were at increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional condition and required related services beyond what’s required by children generally. The ongoing health challenges facing children with special health care needs (CSHCN) can affect their ability to function and participate in important educational and social activities; in some cases, the challenges can shorten their lives.

What do existing data tell us about these children? Here are five things you should know about California’s CSHCN:

1. CSHCN are more likely to have multiple adverse childhood experiences than their peers. The share of CSHCN in California who have experienced four or more adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) is more than five times that of children without special health care needs. These experiences can disrupt healthy development and lead to behavioral, emotional, academic, and health problems throughout life. The more traumatic childhood events experienced, the more likely the impact will be substantial and long lasting, especially if the child does not receive the right support in the aftermath.

2. Parents of CSHCN are less likely to report that their children are resilient when faced with challenges. Resilience may help mitigate the harmful effects of ACEs and toxic stress in children. But just under half of CSHCN in California were described by their parents as resilient—meaning they usually or always stay calm and in control when faced with challenges—compared to 80% of children without special health care needs.

3. Mental health conditions are more common among CSHCN. According to 2022 data from the National Survey of Children’s Health, 51% of California CSHCN ages 3 to 17 had one or more diagnosed mental health conditions—attention deficit disorder or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, anxiety problems, behavioral or conduct problems, or depression—compared with just over 5% of their peers without special health care needs.

4. Most CSHCN have complex health care needs, including multiple chronic conditions, requiring in-depth services and treatment. In California, over three-quarters (77%) of CSHCN had complex health care needs in 2022, with 65% having more than one chronic condition and 27% having more than three.

5. While the share of CSHCN in middle- and higher-income families is above the national average, racial and ethnic disparities exist. Nearly one-third of CSHCN in California had a 2021 family income of at least 400% of the poverty threshold (i.e., $109,916 for a family of two adults and two children), compared with just over one-quarter of CSHCN nationally. Yet just one-fifth of Hispanic or Latino children, who comprise about half of the state’s CSHCN, live in families with this income level, and Hispanic or Latino CSHCN are more likely to live just above the poverty threshold than in other income brackets. On the other hand, while white children comprise less than one-third of the state’s CSHCN, more than half of them live in families with incomes at or above 400% of the poverty threshold.

Read about how we can support California CSHCN and their families.

Funding for KidsData’s latest information on CSHCN is provided by the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health.

We Want to Hear From You

Closing Tomorrow: KidsData User Survey 2024

How do you use KidsData data and resources? What could we do differently? We want to hear from you about how we can improve our offerings to better support your efforts on behalf of children and families. Please consider taking 10 minutes to share your thoughts in our user survey. The survey closes this Friday, March 29.


2024 Santa Clara County Children’s Summit

The Santa Clara County Children’s Summit, presented by Kids in Common on April 19 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. PDT, gathers cross-sector and young leaders to connect and collaborate in improving the well-being of the county’s children. This year’s theme, “Cultivating Caring Communities,” marks the launch of initiatives aimed at boosting the social-emotional health of children, youth, and families, offering attendees the opportunity to learn from experts and strategize on advancing this critical aspect within their communities. Register here.

Children’s Health Resource

Measuring Student Safety: New Data on Bullying Rates at School

About 19% of students in the United States reported being bullied during the 2021–22 school year. A new release by the National Center for Education Statistics uses data from the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey to highlight recent bullying victimization in U.S. schools.

Recently Released

We recently released data about characteristics of children with special health care needs. See links to the latest here.

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Spotlight on Children With Special Needs (Part 1): Family-Centered Care

In a series starting this month, KidsData News is examining data on children with special health care needs (CSHCN) and their families to understand who they are, their strengths, and the challenges they face. We’re analyzing recently released data from a California oversample of the National Survey of Children’s Health and will be publishing an expanded suite of CSHCN indicators and breakdowns. These data will provide the most comprehensive portrait of California CSHCN in a decade. In our first installment, we highlight a new PRB research brief on family-centered health care for CSHCN families.

Family-Centered Care Linked to Better Outcomes for CSHCN, but Families Report Challenges With Providers

When CSHCN receive high-quality, family-centered health care, they enjoy improved care outcomes, including better overall health; better access to coordinated, ongoing, comprehensive health care within a medical home; fewer emergency department visits; and fewer unmet health needs. Putting families at the center of care requires doctors and other providers to spend enough time with the child, listen carefully, show sensitivity to the family’s values and customs, provide the family with specific information they need concerning the child, and help the family feel like a partner in the child’s care.

Receipt of Family-Centered Care Among CSHCN Ages 0 to 17: 2016–2019

Pie charts showing, for California and the United States, among children with special health care needs who had health care visits in the previous year, the share who did and didn’t receive family-centered care; data are three-year estimates for 2016 to 2019.

Many CSHCN families face challenges in accessing family-centered care: In California and across the United States, around 1 in 5 CSHCN with health visits in the previous year did not receive family-centered care, according to 2016–2019 estimates. Research also has pointed to disparities in access to family-centered care for CSHCN based on demographic, socioeconomic, and health characteristics, but these studies have not always controlled for potentially confounding factors. When these factors are controlled for, does receipt of family-centered care for CSHCN families vary consistently by race/ethnicity, parent education, or primary language spoken at home? The results might surprise you. Read more.

We Want to Hear From You

KidsData User Survey 2024

How do you use KidsData data and resources? What could we do differently? We want to hear from you about how we can improve our offerings to better support your efforts on behalf of children and families. Please consider taking 10 minutes to share your thoughts in our user survey. The survey will be open through Friday, March 29.


Ignite the Spark Scholars Program

The Center for Antiracism Research for Health Equity at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health is awarding grants of up to $72,000 to early and mid-career scholars committed to developing novel measures and approaches to studying the impact of structural racism on population health. Up to six pilot studies will be funded. The application period opens Friday, March 1.

Children’s Health Resources

Expanded SNAP Benefits Boosted Food Security During the COVID-19 Emergency

More than 1.8 million children participate in CalFresh, California’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program. A new PRB research brief highlights a national study that found that households receiving SNAP benefits at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic were more likely to be able to access sufficient and nutritious food and a study from North Carolina that found that SNAP shoppers bought fewer less-healthful food items in the first year of the pandemic.

You Count Data Hub 2024 Update

The California Homeless Youth Project at the California Research Bureau has released new data and features on its You Count Data Hub, California’s first integrative dashboard on youth homelessness. Access the latest data from the California Homeless Data Integration System, California Department of Education, and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Also, see how California ranks among states on key measures of youth experiencing homelessness and availability of youth-dedicated beds, find a local continuum of care (CoC) homeless assistance program, and more.

Behavioral Health Virtual Services Platform

California’s Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative has launched two free behavioral health services apps for families with kids, teens, and young adults ages 0 to 25. BrightLife Kids provides behavioral health coaching for parents, caregivers, and children ages 12 and younger. Soluna offers confidential, one-on-one support for 13- to 25-year-olds.

Recently Released

We recently released data about disconnected youth. See links to the latest here.

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How Are California’s Teen Girls Faring?

The teen years are hard. But are they harder than they were in the past? A recent report by our PRB colleagues finds that while American teenage girls of Gen Z are making strides in key areas of education and opportunity, they face alarming threats to their physical and mental health.

While the PRB report focuses on girls born 2000 and later throughout the United States, KidsData tracks California data for many of the topics covered. Here we explore how California’s teen girls are faring on three key measures.

High School Graduation

Percentage of Graduating Class Receiving a High School Diploma, by Gender

Table display showing the percentage of students receiving a high school diploma, by gender: 2017-2021

California girls’ high school graduation rates have been rising. Statewide, girls are more likely to graduate high school with their class than their male peers (87% versus 81% in 2021). And in 16 California counties, girls’ graduation rates exceeded 90% in 2021.

Teen Births

Birth Rate Among Young Women Ages 15 to 19

Trend graph showing the birth rate among young women ages 15-19: 1995-2021.

Teen birth rates for Gen Z girls, like the Millennials before them, have plummeted statewide and nationally. California’s rate dropped by 80% between 2000 and 2021—from 47 births per 1,000 young women ages 15 to 19 to 9 per 1,000—remaining lower and falling faster than the national average. Rates also decreased for all racial and ethnic groups with data over this period, with African American/Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Hispanic/Latina teens recording the largest declines. Despite these improvements, large differences remain; for example, while 2021 birth rates exceeded 10 per 1,000 for African American/Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Hispanic/Latina teens in California, they were lower than 4 per 1,000 for Asian and white teens. And at the local level, some counties recorded teen birth rates more than double the statewide average.


Number of Suicides Among Young Women Ages 15 to 24

Trend graph showing the number of suicides among young women ages 15 to 24: 1995-2020

The suicide death rate for California young people has increased over the past 20 years, despite staying under the national average since at least 19992001.  The suicide rate among Californians ages 15 to 24 increased from 6.7 suicides per 100,000 in 1999–2001 to 8.7 in 2018–2020. The annual number of suicides among young women in the state doubled between 2000 (59) and 2020 (118). While young men are more likely to die by suicide statewide and nationally, young women are more likely to consider suicide. In 2017–2019, more than 1 in 5 female students in grades 9, 11, and non-traditional programs in California reported seriously considering suicide in the previous year, compared with fewer than 1 in 7 of their male counterparts.

Explore PRB’s national report and read more about California policy and program options to improve youth outcomes related to high school graduation, teen births, and suicide and self-inflicted injury.

Children’s Health Resources

2024 California Children’s Report Card

Children Now’s annual California Children’s Report Card grades the state’s performance in implementing policies and making investments needed for all kids to reach their full potential. Across more than 30 wide-ranging issues in children’s well-being, it provides a progress report and recommendations to state leaders on how to give kids their best chance to thrive.

California Safety, Health, Resilience and Equity (CalSHARE) Data Hub

The UC Berkeley School of Public Health and California Department of Public Health have released the CalSHARE Data Hub, which brings together data from more than 20 sources to allow state and local practitioners and other data users to view more than 80 indicators of health, safety, and well-being at the neighborhood, county, and state level.

Take Action

Information-Gathering Meeting: The Experiences of Youth and Practitioners in Afterschool Programming

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will host a virtual public meeting Thursday, February 8, from 1:30 to 5:00 p.m. ET, in which young people and staff will share their lived experiences participating in or supporting afterschool programs. Young people will share personal stories about what afterschool programs have meant for their lives, while staff will share their experiences and perspectives on professional pathways in the field.

Listening Sessions: California Fair Housing Plan

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) is updating California’s Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice and will hold listening sessions related to homelessness, people with disabilities and aging population, persons who are immigrants, tribes and tribal residents, tenant protections, and mobile home parks. Each session will provide a brief overview of current fair housing trends, pose questions that HCD would like participants to answer, and invite participants to share their feedback and lived experiences.

Recently Released Data

We recently released data about teen births. See links to the latest here.

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KidsData 2023: Looking Back, Moving Forward

Photo of mother and daughter roller skating.

KidsData looks back on 2023 with gratitude for our colleagues, partners, and, most importantly, you, our network of data users and changemakers. It’s our privilege to support the work you do on behalf of young people and families across our state. Before the year is over, we hope you’ll consider making a donation to help keep KidsData available, and free, for anyone who shares your commitment to making kids a priority.

Throughout 2023, we collaborated with longtime partners on a range of pressing issues in children’s health and well-being:

In 2024 we look forward to:

  • Hosting more events, bringing together experts and stakeholders from across sectors and regions—supported with the best available evidence—to inform and advance action on key children’s health issues. (Stay tuned for an upcoming webinar on tracking and responding to child maltreatment and deaths.)
  • Sharing our resources and original research more broadly, and learning from the inspiring work of our peers, through in-person opportunities that strengthen existing connections and build new ones. (Look for us at the First 5 California Summit in March, or at another event near you.)
  • Continuing to be your leading resource for data to build a better future for our kids.

If you’d like to sponsor or co-host an event with KidsData, or have us present KidsData to your group, please email [email protected].

Thank you again for being here, and wishing you a happy and healthy new year.

The KidsData Team

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3 Things to Know About the Youth Homelessness Crisis in California

Earlier this month, KidsData and the California Homeless Youth Project hosted “Bringing Youth Homelessness Into Focus,” a discussion of data trends, information gaps, resources, and tools—framed and informed by a young person’s lived expertise of homelessness.

Panelists from diverse sectors and regions examined some of the challenges and opportunities for using data and technology to address California’s youth homelessness crisis. Here are three main takeaways:

1. There are major limitations and variation in how data are collected and reported. Different data sources use different definitions of homelessness, and as a result offer wildly different answers to the question, “How many youth are experiencing homelessness in California?”

Homeless Unaccompanied Youth Under Age 25: 2022

Bar chart showing the number of unsheltered and sheltered unaccompanied youth ages 0-24 experiencing homelessness in California during the 2022 national point-in-time homeless count.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which counts people experiencing homelessness on a single night each January, found that around 10,000 young people ages 0 to 24 in California were unaccompanied (meaning they were not counted as part of a family with children) and staying in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs, safe havens, or unsheltered locations.

Homeless Public School Students: 2020-21

Bar chart showing the number of California public school students recorded as homeless at any point during the 2020-21 school year, by type of nighttime residence.

By contrast, data collected by the California Department of Education (CDE)—which capture the number of public school students staying in hotels, motels, or shared housing with others (around 90% of all homeless students), in addition to those in temporary shelters or unsheltered locations—identified nearly 230,000 young people who experienced homelessness during the 2020-21 school year. Still, CDE data are not comprehensive, leaving out young people not enrolled in school and those experiencing homelessness outside of the school year, among other groups.

2. Tools to prevent or address homelessness should be developed with user needs at the forefront. Vu-Bang Nguyen of Exygy and Denise McCain-Tharnstrom of Our Community LA shared how lived expertise informs every step of the development process for the Bay Area’s Doorway Housing Portal and Los Angeles County’s WIN What I Need mobile app.

3. Destigmatizing homelessness is critical. The narrative of “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” can be harmful, leading youth and families to blame themselves for circumstances outside of their control. The problem is compounded by overlapping barriers to navigating available service systems—from transportation challenges to lack of necessary information—that can prevent people experiencing homelessness or housing instability from seeking and accessing help.

Areas of focus and growth:

  • When asked which data they wished were available, participants pointed to gaps in detailed data for homeless subgroups, such as breakdowns by age or juvenile justice involvement.

  • Discussion from panelists, as well as comments and poll responses from participants, suggest that more resources are needed—both to provide housing and to connect those experiencing housing instability or homelessness with the supports they need.

Watch the recording below, and for more data and strategies to reduce youth homelessness, visit the YOU COUNT California Youth Homelessness Data Hub and KidsData.

KidsData in the News

Kern Child Deaths Drop 22% in 2022, While Some Categories See Spike

The Bakersfield Californian cited KidsData’s indicators of child maltreatment and child deaths, comparing figures for Kern County against statewide rates.

El costo por cuidado infantil sigue aumentando, mientras que los programas gratuitos son sujetos a listas de espera

A KION-TV news piece cited KidsData on the supply and cost of child care in Monterey County. 

Take Action

Comment Request: American Community Survey (ACS) and Puerto Rico Community Survey (PRCS)

Changes to survey questions related to disability, health insurance coverage, and other topics are being considered for the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2025 ACS and PRCS. Submit your comments on the proposed revisions by December 19.

Children’s Health Resources

The National Center for Health Statistics has released several new resources related to U.S. children’s health:

Data from the 2022 National Survey of Children’s Health are featured in two recent data briefs from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau:

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has released highlights from its consensus study on Reducing Intergenerational Poverty.

Two recent publications from the California Essentials for Childhood Initiative and its partners highlight 2021 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and California Health Interview Survey:

The Children’s Partnership has released a community outreach toolkit, ALL IN to Keep Kids Covered, designed to help schools, child care providers, and other child and family champions share information about the Medi-Cal renewal process with families.


Request for Proposals: Addressing Anti-Black Racism in California Health Systems

The California Health Care Foundation plans to award grants of up to $150,000 for quality improvement projects that address anti-Black racism in California’s health care delivery system. Register for an informational webinar on Friday, December 1, at 1:00 p.m. PT.

Improving the Mental Health and Wellbeing of Children and Adolescents: Driving Factors and Root Causes

On Tuesday, December 5, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will host a webinar focused on factors contributing to the current mental health crisis among children and youth, including inequities in the mental health system.

Recently Released Data

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

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Webinar: Bringing Youth Homelessness Into Focus

You are invited to participate in an upcoming webinar, “Bringing Youth Homelessness Into Focus,” on Thursday, November 2, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. PT, brought to you by KidsData, the California Homeless Youth Project, and Blue Shield of California Foundation.

California continues to experience dramatic increases in homelessness, driven by the state’s high housing costs, mental and behavioral health crises, lack of alternative housing options, and inadequate and expiring supportive programs. Within the state’s large and growing homeless population, children and young adults are an often overlooked and particularly vulnerable group.

This webinar will spotlight the state of youth homelessness by showcasing the latest data, illuminating information gaps, and sharing innovative solutions like the Doorway Housing Portal and the WIN What I Need app. The webinar will be structured and informed through an interactive discussion with a young person with lived expertise on homelessness.

Register for the webinar today. Upon registration, a calendar invitation with Zoom information will be emailed to you. If you have questions, please email [email protected].

Blue Shield Foundation of California California Homeless Youth Project
KidsData: Powered by PRB

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Firearm Hospitalization Rates for California Youth Higher in 2021, 2020 Than in 2019

Rate of Hospitalization for Firearm-Related Injuries per 100,000 California Children and Young Adults Ages 0 to 24: 2016 to 2021


Popular discussion of the harm caused by firearms often focuses on deaths, overlooking the impact of non-fatal injuries. For every child in the United States who dies due to firearms, two more are treated for bodily harm resulting from a shooting. Firearm injuries can cause lifelong physical ailments and mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For Californians under age 25, firearm injury has been a top 10 cause of hospitalization for the past five years. Nationwide, across all age groups, it is estimated that initial emergency department and hospital treatment for firearm injuries costs over $1 billion annually.

The latest data available for California show that firearm-related injury hospitalizations among young people under age 25 remain elevated. The state’s 1,315 firearm hospitalizations in 2021—representing a rate of 10.1 hospital discharges per 100,000 children and young adults—were just 70 fewer than the number recorded in 2020 (1,385—10.6 per 100,000). Both years saw substantially higher rates than 2018 or 2019, though not as high as 2016 (the first year for which comparable data are available).

Trends at the county level varied widely over this period. In San Bernardino, firearm hospitalizations almost doubled between 2016 (65 hospitalizations—7.9 per 100,000) and 2021 (118 hospitalizations—14.5 per 100,000), and San Diego saw an increase of around two-thirds. By contrast, rates fell by more than a third in Sacramento and by half in Monterey over the same period.

Data for the two most common types of firearm injury intent—assault and unintentional injury—have generally mirrored the statewide trend in gun-related hospitalizations among youth overall. Youth firearm hospitalizations due to self-harm, by contrast, have been on the rise since 2019, and were higher in 2021 than in any of the five previous years.

Demographic characteristics are associated with striking disparities in the likelihood of being hospitalized for a firearm injury. In 2021, young males in California experienced firearm injury hospitalization rates seven and a half times higher than their female counterparts. The rate of firearm injury hospitalization among African American/Black young people statewide (52.3 per 100,000) was substantially higher than for any other racial/ethnic group with data—almost five times higher than for Hispanic/Latino young people and almost 20 times higher than for white young people. And while older teens and young adults experience higher rates of firearm injury than younger children, rates among those under age 15 have been climbing steadily since 2016.

Read about strategies to prevent child and young adult injuries from firearms and other causes.


Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) Public Seminar: Modernizing Poverty Measurement

CNSTAT will host a public seminar September 29 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET addressing conceptual questions around the purposes, strengths, and weaknesses of different poverty measures. A recent report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, An Updated Measure of Poverty: (Re)Drawing the Line, will be featured.

Take Action

Comment Request: American Community Survey (ACS) Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Test Questions

The U.S. Census Bureau invites public comment on its proposal to test question wording, response categories, and placement of SOGI questions on the ACS questionnaire. Of specific interest is how the questions perform when one person answers about others (or proxy reporting, which is typical in the ACS). Submit your comments by November 20.

Children’s Health Resources

A Trauma-Informed Approach to Active Transportation: Recognizing the Relationship Between Adversity, Resiliency, and Active Transportation

The California Essentials for Childhood Initiative, California Department of Public Health Active Transportation Safety Program, and All Children Thrive California have developed a brief to support efforts to meet basic transportation needs and physical activity requirements, which can foster environments in which people and communities can heal from trauma and build resilience.

The Return on Investing in Children: Helping Children Thrive

Investments in children—particularly very young children—can have short- and long-term payoffs for individuals and society at large, a recent study by Urban Institute finds. Yet only a small share of spending in the federal budget targets children, and even less will be spent on children in the coming years.

Recently Released Data

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

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Join the Conversation and Help Us Grow the KidsData Community

Join the KidsData community.

There are many ways to connect with KidsData. We’re committed to building a robust community of researchers, educators, providers, decisionmakers, advocates, and others working on behalf of children and families in our state—and we want you to be part of it.

Nearly 5,500 people and organizations follow KidsData. Join them to keep up with our latest work, the work of our partners and peers, and research and news on child health and well-being. Find us on:

Follow us on your preferred platform and share your feedback. The more you participate, the stronger our community will become.

KidsData in the News

Where Child Well-Being Stands in California

An article in Axios San Francisco cites KidsData figures on students not completing high school in San Francisco County (where the percentage is substantially higher than the statewide average, due, in part, to a large charter high school for adults with a dropout rate above 90%).


Census Bureau Feedback Opportunity on Potential Removal of the Ancestry Question From the ACS

The Association of Public Data Users will host a webinar August 30 at 3:00 p.m. ET in which U.S. Census Bureau staff will provide context on the potential removal of the ancestry question (“What is your ancestry or ethnic origin?”) from the American Community Survey. Participants will have an opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions.

Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative (CYBHI) Fee Schedule and Partnership Capacity Grants

The next webinar in CYBHI’s five-part series on Leveraging and Aligning Opportunities to Advance and Sustain School Mental Health [PDF] will be held August 30 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. PT. Participants will learn about a new opportunity for schools and their partners to receive increased sustainable funding for student mental health services.

Creating Protective Environments Web Conference

The California Department of Public Health’s Rape Prevention and Education Program and ValorUS will host a two-part web conference September 6 and 7, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. PT. Discussion topics will include community connectedness, gendered social norms, placemaking strategies, alcohol-related policies, and violence prevention policies in schools, municipalities, and organizations. San Diego Unified School District’s Youth Advocacy Department and All Children Thrive, a community-led group working to improve child well-being in California, will be featured.

Safe Spaces: Supporting Schools and Care Settings to Be Trauma Informed

The Office of the California Surgeon General (OSG) and ACEs Aware will host a virtual event September 7 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. PT about Safe Spaces, OSG’s new online training for educators, school personnel, and early care providers to recognize and respond to trauma and stress in children and share strategies that promote safe and supportive learning environments.

Open Call for Applications: Centering Youth Mental Health

CVS Health Foundation invites community-based, multisector coalitions to apply for $1,000,000 awards to implement strategies that increase young people’s access to evidence-based care, programs, and conditions that promote positive mental health outcomes. Priority populations include adolescents and young adults ages 12 to 24 who identify as female, black, indigenous, a person of color, and/or LGBTQ+; live in communities with limited availability of behavioral health care services; and/or are involved in juvenile justice or child welfare systems. Applications are due September 8 at 5:00 p.m. ET.

Children’s Health Resource

California Child Well-Being Coalition e-Guide

The California Essentials for Childhood Initiative has published a digital resource to support state and local public health programs, child-serving systems, nonprofits, and philanthropic organizations interested in collaborating with groups at the local level to achieve child well-being through policy, systems, and environmental change.

Take Action

Public Feedback: Perspectives on Transforming Health Care for Children and Youth

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee on Improving the Health and Well-Being of Children and Youth Through Health Care System Transformation welcomes input from the public. Submit your experiences, thoughts, and ideas about improving health care.

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