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Scorecard Measures California Children’s Health and Well-Being

Online Tool from Children Now Highlights Each County’s Successes and Challenges


Oakland (October 29, 2014) – An interactive data tool released today delivers a timely picture of children’s overall well-being within California as a whole and across each of the state’s 58 counties. The 2014-15 California County Scorecard of Children’s Well-Being, was developed by Children Now with funding from The California Endowment.  

The Scorecard, which is available here, presents 29 measures of county-level data organized by the categories of health, education, child welfare and economic well-being. The goal of the project is to encourage the sharing of best practices, foster collaboration, and support communities, policymakers, and local advocates taking action to improve the lives of children in their communities.

“Too many California children lack access to high-quality early learning experiences, great schools, timely and integrated health care services, healthy foods, and safe places to play,” said Ted Lempert, president of Children Now, the leading multi-issue research, policy, and advocacy group for children in California. “Solutions to these access and quality challenges need to meet the unique needs of individual communities, The Scorecard provides local leaders and stakeholders with a holistic view of children’s well-being to identify the most pressing needs of children living in their community, whether they live in Los Angeles or Del Norte County, are African American, White, or Latino.”

The Scorecard includes a 5-point star rating system for each county, so users can see how their county compares to the California average and to other counties. Users can also compare data over a two year time-span and by race and ethnicity.

For some measures there is a large difference in how counties faired. For example, the education indicator “3- and 4-year-olds who attend preschool” ranges from a low of 32 percent in Kern County to a high of 67 percent in San Francisco County and has a statewide average of 47 percent. Additionally, “3rd graders who read at grade level” ranges from a low of 24 percent in Modoc County to a high of 66 percent in Marin County. Even within Marin County there is a great deal of variation with a low of 37 percent for Latino children to a high of 78 percent for White children. 

“For health to happen in our schools, neighborhoods and with prevention, we need to know how our counties compare,” said Dr. Robert K. Ross, M.D., CEO of The California Endowment. “The Scorecard helps us identify and learn from communities that are succeeding in improving children’s health, and apply those lessons to communities facing similar challenges.”

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About The California Endowment
The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation, was established in 1996 to expand access to quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental affordable improvements in the health status of all Californians. Headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, The Endowment has regional offices in Sacramento, Oakland, Fresno, and San Diego, with program staff working throughout the state. The Endowment challenges the conventional wisdom that medical settings and individual choices are solely responsible for people's health. Through its ‘Health Happens Here’ campaign and ten-year initiative for Building Healthy Communities, The Endowment is creating places where children are healthy, safe, and ready to learn. At its core, The Endowment believes that health happens in neighborhoods, schools and with prevention. For more information, visit The California Endowment’s homepage at www.calendow.org.