Estimates Show a 14 Percentage Point Reduction in Child Poverty from Safety Net Programs

Poverty Reducing Effects of the Social Safety Net in California According to the California Poverty Measure: 2014-2016

Table Image of the Poverty reducing Effects of the Social Safety Net in California According to the California Poverty Measure: 2014-2016

Safety net programs such as tax credits and supplemental nutrition help mitigate economic hardships for families and safeguard children. Children who face economic hardship, or who experience deep and prolonged poverty, are at greater risk for poor emotional and physical health than children in more economically secure households.
Based on the California Poverty Measure, social safety net programs reduced child poverty by an estimated 14 percentage points in 2014-2016. Estimates show how each program contributed to reducing poverty. The Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit had a particularly strong effect, reducing poverty by six percentage points. Also impactful was CalFresh, known federally as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which reduced poverty by four percentage points.
The effects of poverty extend beyond individuals. The estimated total annual cost of child poverty in the U.S. is more than a trillion dollars, due in part to loss of economic productivity and increased health costs. For every dollar spent on poverty reduction strategies, the U.S. could save an estimated $7 related to the economic costs of poverty.

Data About Programs for Families in Poverty

These data are a part of Safeguards for Youth, a compilation of the latest data on protective factors and supportive services that promote California children’s health and well-being. Learn more at kidsdata.org/Safeguards.

Social Safety Net

COVID-19 Resources on Children

SupplyBank.Org supports under-resourced children and families by manufacturing and collecting then distributing basic needs material items to local agencies. They are accepting requests for supplies from social service agencies, WIC, First 5, school districts, domestic violence shelters, or other public assistance agencies in need of basic material resources.

California’s Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Division compiled COVID-19 Resources for Women and Families to offer guidance for both families and health professionals in areas such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, and family nutrition.

The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality outlines the challenges in Supporting Children’s Health During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic. They offer insights in areas such as home-visiting services, communications with pregnant women, and parent and caregiver mental health.

The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health continually updates a curated list of COVID-19 Resources for Children with Special Health Care Needs.

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One in Four Youth in Foster Care Do Not Receive Timely Medical Exams

Timely Medical Exams for California Children in Foster Care:
1998 to 2019

Trend line showing the number of timely medical exams for California Children in Foster Care from 1998 to 2019

The foster care system is a critical safeguard for youth. It provides temporary, safe living arrangements and therapeutic services for youth who cannot remain safely at home. In California, 59,172 children ages 0-20 were in foster care on July 1, 2018.

While foster care aims to reunify children with their family, or unify them with another family as safely and quickly as possible, some children spend months or years in the system. Among children ages 0-17 who entered foster care in 2017, half spent more than 17 months in foster care. Thus, ensuring timely access to medical and dental care for these children is critical to promoting their long-term health and well-being. Over the past 20 years, the percentage of children in foster care receiving timely health exams has improved dramatically, though fewer than one in four still do not receive timely care. In 2019, 73% of children in foster care received timely medical exams, up from 11% in 1998, and 67% received timely dental exams, up from 8%.

Services to Address Abuse Data

These data are a part of Safeguards for Youth, a compilation of the latest data on protective factors and supportive services that promote California children’s health and well-being. Learn more at kidsdata.org/Safeguards.

Foster Care

Domestic Violence Calls

COVID-19 Resources on Children

Alliance for Children’s Rights compiled resources for foster care youth and families impacted by COVID-19. Resources are focused on California, particularly Los Angeles, and covers topics such as food assistance, health care, and housing.

The California Department of Public Health shares the latest about the state’s actions related to COVID-19 and links to services and information for sectors such as education, health care, and housing.

Common Sense created Wide Open School to offer resources to support kids’ educational, emotional, and physical development. It includes sections such as academic supports, emotional well-being practices, and children with special needs.

The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health continually updates a curated list of COVID-19 Resources for Children with Special Health Care Needs.

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Supporting Children Through Health Challenges

Usual Source of Health Care Among California Children: 2015-2016

Image of a pie chart displaying the usual source of health care among California children from 2015 to 2016

A coordinated approach to health care that is affordable, evidence-based, and family-centered safeguards youth most effectively. Children receive care from a complex system of clinics, hospitals, schools, and more. Important measures of this broad system of care include how often these health care services are accessed, why they are used, and to what extent they are adequate.

Over nine in ten California youth ages 0-17 experienced no delay in medical care in 2015-2016. During that time period, their usual source of care was visiting a doctor’s office or HMO (61%), going to a clinic or hospital (27%), and using an emergency room or urgent care center (3%). Ten percent of children had no usual source of care. In California, the main reason children ages 0-17 were discharged from hospitals in 2017 was for mental diseases and disorders (14% of discharges). However, about four in ten youth who needed help for emotional or mental health problems received counseling in 2015-2016.

Schools can be a safe and accessible environment to address health issues among children. One in four elementary school teachers and one in five high school teachers strongly agreed that their school provided adequate health services in 2015-2017. Among school support personnel, there were 2,410 nurses, 1,041 psychologists, and 626 counselors for every student in California schools in 2019. School-based health centers provide medical care, dental care, mental or behavioral health care, and other services through on- and off-campus sites and mobile vans. In 2019, 268 school-based health centers served California children in 33 counties.

Support for Health Challenges Data

These data are a part of Safeguards for Youth, a compilation of the latest data on protective factors and supportive services that promote California children’s health and well-being. Learn more at kidsdata.org/Safeguards.

Hospitalization

Physical and Mental Health Care

School Services

Related Resource

Common Sense shares resources for families during the coronavirus pandemic including helping children understand COVID-19 news coverage, helping parents support children through school closures and online learning, and recommending what to watch, read, and play.

Recently Released Data

We recently released data about pupil support personnel, disconnected youth, and juvenile arrests. See links to the latest here.

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Protecting Youth Requires Meaningful Relationships

Caring Relationships with Adults at School: 2015-2017

Image of Caring Relationships with Adults at School Data
Meaningful relationships are fundamental to safeguarding youth. Every child needs an adult who is both caring and supportive as well as attentive to basic needs. When an adult demonstrates a deep commitment to a child’s emotional and physical well-being, that child is more likely to feel secure and protected which supports their long-term health and well-being. These relationships are most critical at home but are also important in all youth environments such as in school.

Many students in California lack a caring relationship at school. Less than half of students in 7th and 11th grade and about a quarter of students in 9th grade and in non-traditional programs highly agreed that they had a caring relationship with an adult at school in 2015-2017. Hispanic/Latino students in these grade levels may be least likely to have caring relationship with an adult (29% highly agreed) compared with white students (39% highly agreed), among race/ethnicity groups with data.

Nurturing School Community Data

These data are a part of Safeguards for Youth, a compilation of the latest data on protective factors and supportive services that promote California children’s health and well-being. Learn more at kidsdata.org/Safeguards.

Feeling Connected

Strong Relationships

Supportive Environment

Related Resources

Simple Interactions promotes a research and practice-based approach in child and adult relationship-building and provides free resources to support those who serve children, youth, and families. It is a partnership between the Fred Rogers Center, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and the University of Pittsburgh.

Strategies 2.0 is a multi-dimensional initiative to help organizations strengthen families and communities by offering free resources and training. It is supported by the Office of Child Abuse Prevention.

The Second Annual Child Abuse Prevention Month Kids’ Art Contest has begun! This year’s theme for the art contest is “My Hero.” Entries are due March 22, 2020.

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Protecting Children Involves All Caregivers

Licensed Child Care Facilities Offering Evening, Weekend or
Overnight Care: 2019

Licensed Child Care Facilities Offering Evening, Weekend or Overnight Care in California Bar Graph

A strong start in education is an important protective factor in children’s health. Enriching and positive early learning experiences can boost confidence, engagement, and skills, reinforcing a child’s long-term educational outcomes and well-being. Education begins long before entering Kindergarten through experiences such as cooperative play in child care settings and reading stories with parents at home. Caregivers in child care settings and at home both play a key role in establishing this solid foundation.

Licensed child care aims to ensure children receive quality services that are safe and protective. It should be equally accessible to all who need it when they need it. However, some families struggle more than others to access licensed child care. Parents working non-traditional schedules or holding multiple jobs often need child care during evenings, weekends, or overnight, but these slots are least available. Two percent of licensed child care centers and 41% of family child care homes in California offer evening, weekend and overnight care. When addressing the need for more licensed child care slots, it is important to also be mindful of varying work schedules so that all types of families benefit from this protective factor.

Reading together in the home is another way of supporting a strong start in education. Almost two-thirds of California children, 64%, had parents who read to them daily in 2015-2016, and another quarter of children had parents read to them at least three times a week. Promisingly, almost nine out of ten children regularly experience this enriching and protective experience in California.

Strong Start in Education Data

These data are a part of Safeguards for Youth, a compilation of the latest data on protective factors and supportive services that promote California children’s health and well-being. Learn more at kidsdata.org/Safeguards.

Child Care

Reading

Related Resources

The California Child Care Resource and Referral Network recently released the California Child Care Portfolio and provided kidsdata.org with indicators describing child care supply, demand, and cost.

First 5 California encourages caregivers to Talk. Read. Sing. to children in support of early child development.

Register for Upcoming Safeguards for Youth Briefing

Join us on March 5 to learn more about the Safeguards for Youth data. We will discuss the importance of adopting a prevention mind-set and using trauma-informed practices to avert and address adversity among children. Learn more and register here.

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Safeguards for Youth Briefing

Webinar Details
Date: Thursday, March 5
Time: 11:00-11:30 AM PST

Kidsdata.org recently compiled data on Safeguards for Youth to highlight important protective factors and supportive services for California children. Learn about the Safeguards for Youth framework and where to easily access these data. Also, hear from a specialist at the Child Abuse Prevention Center about adopting a prevention mind-set and using trauma-informed practices to address adversity among children. Speakers will be available for questions immediately after the 30-minute briefing.

Register Here

Speakers

Image of Lori Turk-BicakciLori Turk-Bicakci, PhD
Director, Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health

Lori Turk-Bicakci is director of the Kidsdata program. Dr. Turk-Bicakci ensures that data and information on kidsdata.org are high-quality, relevant, and user-friendly, and she works with researchers and advocates across California to address key children’s health issues. Before joining the Foundation, Dr. Turk-Bicakci was a senior researcher at American Institutes for Research. She has extensive experience with data collection, analysis, and reporting for education, social services, and other research projects that support children’s long-term health and development. Prior to her work in research, Dr. Turk-Bicakci was a middle school social studies teacher.

Image of Troy NicholsTroy Nichols
Senior Training and Consulting Specialist, The Child Abuse Prevention Center

Troy Nichols provides consulting, coaching, and training for programs, organizations, networks, and systems that provide services to children youth, families and communities. He has expertise and provides consulting support and training in the areas of community impact, strengthening families, youth engagement, trauma informed approaches, cultural proficiency/equity & inclusion and supporting father involvement. Over his 28-year career he has worked in various areas of the field including, foster care, adoption independent living, mentoring and policy creation/implementation. Troy currently is the Senior Training and Consulting Specialist for Strategies 2.0 which is a contract held by the Child Abuse Prevention Center of Sacramento funded by the California Office of Child Abuse Prevention. He is also an adjunct professor at California State University, Sacramento in the Family and Consumer Sciences department.

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Protecting Babies Starts Before Birth

California Infants Whose Mothers Received Prenatal Care in the First Trimester: 2016

California Map of Data Indicating Infants Whose Mothers Received Prenatal Care in the First Trimester
Preventive health care is important to safeguarding our youth, from routine medical and dental visits to receiving care in a medical home. For expectant mothers, prenatal care is one of the first steps to protecting her child’s long-term health and well-being. During early prenatal care visits, health professionals can identify and resolve medical problems, refer women to services for non-medical issues, and provide general health education. Mothers who receive prenatal care in the first trimester increase their baby’s chances of a healthy birth and infancy.

In California, 84% of infants were born in 2016 to mothers who had received prenatal care during the first trimester. However, in some parts of California, far smaller proportions of mothers are receiving prenatal care. Just under half of babies in Modoc County and under two-thirds of babies in seven additional counties were born to mothers who received early prenatal care.

First trimester prenatal care differs by race/ethnicity. In 2016, 70% of babies born to American Indian/Alaskan Native mothers and 79% of babies born to African American/Black mothers received early prenatal care. These rates are lower than for babies born to mothers who were Hispanic/Latina, Asian/Pacific Islander or white.

Preventive Health Care Data

These data are a part of Safeguards for Youth, a compilation of the latest data on protective factors and supportive services that promote California children’s health and well-being. Learn more at kidsdata.org/Safeguards.

Insurance

Medical Home

Perinatal Infant Care

Wellness Practices

Related Resource

The Strong Start Index helps policymakers and service providers understand the conditions into which babies are born all across California. It is comprised of twelve indicators including timely prenatal care and healthy weight at birth. The latest iteration includes 2017 data as well as breakdowns by race/ethnicity and city and federal legislative districts. In addition, users can gain an improved understanding of differences based on significance testing. This resource is provided by the Children’s Data Network (CDN) and the First 5 Association of California.

Recently Released Data

We recently released data about Child Care and Child Abuse. See links to the latest here.

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New Resource for Census: Hard to Count 2020 Map

Net Undercount Risk for Young Children (Ages 0-4)
by Census Tract San Francisco

The census informs much of the data we share with you. A well-known challenge is that children are hard to count, some more than others. Guest author, Beth Jarosz from the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), discusses the importance of the census for children and the challenge of counting children accurately. She also shares a useful resource that predicts the hardest to count areas in California. Let’s all help ensure an accurate count on April 1, 2020.

Importance of Counting All Children in the 2020 Census

Every ten years, the United States counts the population of the nation, states, counties, and neighborhoods. This decennial census is so important that the U.S. Constitution requires it. Decennial census data are the foundation for political representation and redistricting but also have a wide variety of other important uses that impact children.

Funding allocation: Census data are used to allocate billions of dollars of federal funds each year. Much of that funding directly benefits children through programs such as Head Start, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and the National School Lunch Program, which reimburses schools for free and reduced-price meals provided to eligible children.

Planning, policy, and programmatic decisions: Decennial census data also influence local policy and planning decision-making. For example, by tracking the number of children in a community, officials can anticipate the need for new classrooms or schools.

Calculating rates: Census data serve as the foundation for the population data (decennial census counts, intercensal estimates, and projections) that we use to calculate rates, such as the teen birth rate, child/youth death rates by age, and child/youth death rates by race/ethnicity.

Benchmarking surveys: The census is crucial for surveys – American Community Survey, California Health Interview Survey, National Survey of Children’s Health, and others – because the population data gathered in the census forms the framework for collecting and weighting the data in those surveys.

Counting the Entire Population Accurately is a Challenge

While the goal of the 2020 Census is to count every person once, only once, and in the right place, counting more than 300 million people across nearly 3.8 million square miles is a considerable challenge. Despite the best efforts and careful planning of Census Bureau staff, the direct, physical enumeration of the U.S. population is imperfect. Some people may get counted more than once. For example, children in shared custody living arrangements may be counted more than once, and youth away at college may be counted at both their college and parental home. Some people may not get counted at all—people who lack a permanent address or who move frequently are at higher risk of being missed in the census.

Young children are most at risk of being missed. In 2010, the Census Bureau estimated that their total overcount was fairly small (about 36,000 people, or 0.1 percent of the population), but over/under-counts varied by age, race/ethnicity, and other characteristics. Both the 2000 and 2010 Censuses tended to undercount young children, renters, and some racial/ethnic groups, and to overcount older people, non-Hispanic white people, and homeowners.

Where Might Children be Missed in the Census?

PRB evaluated the characteristics of counties where children were undercounted in previous censuses. These characteristics include a higher-than-average:

  • Percent of children living in female-headed households.
  • Percent of households that are linguistically isolated.
  • Percent of young children living with grandparent householders.
  • Percent of young children living in immigrant families.

New Resource for Addressing Census Undercount

PRB, using data provided by the Census Bureau, developed a new measure of undercount risk by neighborhood (referred to as census tracts) around the country and then categorized these communities based on the risk of undercount for young children.

To help communities identify these high risk areas and provide guidance for outreach and services that may help ensure a complete count, PRB has made these data available through an online and interactive Hard to Count 2020 Map application. This was developed by the CUNY Mapping Service at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center.

An example is shown above. In San Francisco County, we can identify in which tracts counting young children ages 0 to 4 will be particularly difficult.

Additional Resources

You can learn more about the factors associated with undercount and about nationwide efforts to count all kids. You can also find out how to get involved directly in California’s Complete Count efforts.

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Data on Protective Factors and Supportive Services

Safeguards for Youth Campaign Flier

Safeguards for Youth is a compilation of the latest data on promoting California children’s health and well-being. The data describe protective factors and supportive services, both of which are critical to building a solid foundation for life and addressing the effects of childhood adversity. Protective factors highlight the importance of preventive health care, a strong start in education, and a nurturing school community. Supportive services address adverse experiences such as health challenges, abuse, and family poverty. These data stress the urgency for advocacy and policy change to safeguard California’s future generations.

Explore these safeguards, identify disparities in your community, and take action. Most data are available by county, city, school district, or legislative district. Many indicators are also available by demographic groups. These data come from fifteen reputable sources including the California Department of Education, California Department of Health Care Services, National Survey of Children’s Health, and California Healthy Kids Survey.

See the complete list of Safeguards for Youth indicators »

Related Webinar

Image of Safeguards for Youth Briefing Title Slide Thank you for joining our discussion on the importance of adopting a prevention mind-set and using trauma-informed practices to avert and address adversity among children. The recording and slides are now available.

Data Focus Briefs

Protecting Babies Starts Before Birth
Image of California map of data on mothers who receive prenatal care in the first trimester Mothers who receive prenatal care in the first trimester increase their baby’s chances of a healthy birth and infancy. Learn more and see how your county is faring.
Protecting Children Involves All Caregivers
Image of Overnight and Weekend Child Care Data in California Enriching and positive early learning experiences can boost confidence, engagement, and skills, reinforcing a child’s long-term educational outcomes and well-being. Caregivers in child care settings and at home both play a key role in establishing this solid foundation. See the latest data on the availability of licensed child care centers in California.
Protecting Youth Requires Meaningful Relationships
Image of a bar graph showing the data for Caring Relationships with Adults at School Every child needs an adult who is both caring and supportive as well as attentive to basic needs. These relationships are most critical at home but are also important in all youth environments such as in school. See how students in your county feel about caring relationships.
Supporting Children Through Health Challenges
Image of a pie chart displaying the usual source of health care among California children from 2015 to 2016 Children receive care from a complex system of clinics, hospitals, schools, and more. Important measures of this broad system of care include how often these health care services are accessed, why they are used, and to what extent they are adequate. See the latest data.
Supporting Youth Who Experience Abuse
Image of trend graph for Timely Medical Exams for California Children in Foster Care from 1998 to 2019 One in four foster youth do not receive timely medical care. See the latest data and learn how the foster care system system is a critical safeguard for youth.
Supporting Families Through Economic
Hardship
Image of the Table of data for the Poverty Reducing Effects of the Social Safety Net in California According to the California Poverty Measure from 2014-2016 Based on the California Poverty Measure, social safety net programs reduced child poverty by an estimated 14 percentage points in 2014-2016. See how much programs like tax credits and supplemental nutrition contribute to reducing poverty.

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New Year, New Data

Image of Children At School

Kidsdata is starting off the new year with optimism and determination. Our commitment to elevating children’s health and well-being across all California policies, programs, and services is unwavering. We recently updated 124 indicators across six topics that can inform advocacy efforts, needs assessments, grant proposals, and more. A summary of the latest data is available below. See the full list of recently released data here.

Emotional and Behavioral Health
Family Economics
  • Family Income and Poverty includes the supplemental poverty measure, self-sufficiency standard, and CalWORKs participation.
Physical Health
  • Asthma includes asthma diagnoses and hospitalizations.
  • Health Care includes usual source of health care, delay in care, emergency room visits, insurance coverage, school health care centers, and care within a medical home.

We continually update data throughout the year. Sign up for data alerts to be informed as soon as the topics, regions, or demographic groups that interest you most become available.

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