As we approach the 2017 legislative session, many Oklahomans are concerned about which direction the state will move.
The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) released the 2016 KIDS COUNT data book last week showing areas of progress and slippage for kids. This publication, found at oica.org for your review, provides statistical analysis of 16 key factors relating to children’s well-being in our state and the nation. The good news is Oklahoma moved up two spots to 37th in the nation compared to our last review from the 2014 publication.
From Annie E. Casey Foundation’s (AECF) website - KIDS COUNT is a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation to track the well-being of children in the United States. By providing high-quality data and trend analysis through its KIDS COUNT Data Center, the Foundation seeks to enrich local, state and national discussions concerning ways to secure better futures for all children — and to raise the visibility of children's issues through a nonpartisan, evidence-based lens. In addition to including data from the most trusted national resources, the KIDS COUNT Data Center draws from more than 50 KIDS COUNT state organizations that provide state and local data, as well publications providing insights into trends affecting child and family well-being.
Through its National KIDS COUNT Project, the Foundation develops and distributes reports on important well-being issues. Much of the data from these nationally recognized publications, including the KIDS COUNT Data Book, are featured on the KIDS COUNT Data Center.
Before going too far into the data, I want to share that OICA used the most recent available data for each point contained. If you look at our summary, much of the data will be based upon information collected in 2014 and 2015, while some might be older. The one-pager put together by AECF shows 16 categories of interest compared with the national numbers on the reverse page, though many factors go into this ranking, and we will continually update online as new data is supplied.
Not meaning to sound too negative, but much of the progress made in Oklahoma’s ranking is based on other states slipping. Of the 16 factors, our state progressed slightly in most of those, a fact which I am happy to report. There are four overall categories with four statistical factors summarized.
Those four categorical domains are: economic well-being, education, health and family & community. Oklahoma saw improvements compared to other states with economic well-being (improved from 29th from 30th), family & community (improved to 38th from 41st) and health (improved from 34th from 39th), but remained locked at 42 overall in the education domain. To see the rest, visit http://datacenter.kidscount.org/ as published by AECF.
We look forward to speaking to civic organizations or conferences around the state so as to share this information. This information is meant for more than just policymakers. We want the many advocates wishing to join us to be prepared with real facts in fighting to make Oklahoma a better place for the children.
Joe Dorman serves as the CEO for the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy. The mission of OICA is creating awareness, taking action and changing policy to improve the health, safety and well-being of Oklahoma’s children.
The 2016 summary sheets for Oklahoma and the United States as prepared by the Annie E. Casey Foundation can be viewed below by clicking the download icon.