2019 Kids Count in Nebraska Report

This week we are pleased to share the recent 2018 Kids Count in Nebraska Report from our member organization, Voices for Children. 

This annual report sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation tracks the status of children in our state, as well throughout the United States, utilizing the best available data. Key indicators measure the education, social, economic, and physical well-being of children.  This year, for the first time, the report includes a county-by-county look at child well-being across Nebraska's 93 counties. 

The guide also includes a map of legislative districts statewide, and information about how to contact your state representatives. The county-by-county break down provides an opportunity for constituents to contact their policymakers with high specific data, and topline messaging across a variety of issues that affect Nebraska children and families, issues such as early childhood education, food security, juvenile justice, access to health care, and much more. 

This is an incredibly useful resource, applicable across many issue areas, age groups, racial and ethnic communities, and geographic areas. For more information, download the full report and mark your calendar for the official report release event on February 20th.  

Report Commentary: 
 
Nebraska is a great state to be a kid, and the data supports that claim. Our state consistently receives top ranks in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Data Book. The data comprised in Casey’s 2018 Book placed Nebraska at 9th state for overall child well-being. However, we know that overall state data may not tell the whole story of what’s going on with Nebraska kids. 
 
Voices for Children’s Pro-Kid Policy Plan represents our vision for a Nebraska where strong communities allow all children to thrive. To measure our state’s progress in supporting strong communities, the first 25 years of the Kids Count in Nebraska Report contained several indicators of child well-being disaggregated by county. These indicators have proven to us that place matters for children in Nebraska. The county you live in often plays a role in determining child well-being and access to opportunity. In order to create a representative ranking that covers all areas of child well-being in Nebraska we selected 14 indicators divided between four issue areas: Health, Education, Economic Stability, and Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Systems. 

Voices for Children encourages users to focus on individual indicators, trends, and geographical patterns to identify areas of child well-being in each county that need the greatest attention and to track positive changes made in areas where programs have been implemented to promote improvement.  

Indicator List

Health:
1. Children without health insurance
2. 10-year average child mortality rate
3. Births with inadequate prenatal care

Education:
4. 3rd graders not reading proficiently
5. High schoolers not graduating on time
6. 3- and 4-year-olds not in school

Economic Stability:
7. Children living in low-income families
8. Ratio of kids of color living in poverty to all kids in poverty
9. Children who are food insecure
10. Families with children who do not own their homes

Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Systems:
11. Children having involvement in the child welfare system
12. Children involved in the child welfare system placed in out-of-home care
13. Youth in juvenile court without access to counsel
14. Ratio of youth referred to diversion to cases filed in juvenile court

Methodology
When establishing the methodology for ranking counties, we wanted something that was easy to understand, replicate, and allowed for a variety of data formats while not causing undue penalty to counties that did not have any events in certain indicators. In order to compute the ranking, the following steps were taken:

1. Selection of data indicators – Voices for Children’s data indicator selection standard was used to establish a set of indicators in each of our Kids Count issue areas. These indicators are systems-focused, disaggregatable by county, and considered to be among the strongest available to measure child well-being and predict future opportunity.

2. Data was collected – The most recent county-level data for each indicator was collected from trusted state and national data providers.

3. Data was standardized – While the number of an event occurring is important within a specific location, they are not able to provide a meaningful comparison between counties with disparate population sizes. Rates and percentages were calculated from the data to provide fair comparisons between counties.

4. Counties were ranked – For each indicator a 1-93 ranking was produced with 1 being the most desirable. Counties with the same rates were given an equal ranking.

5. Rankings were averaged – After a ranking was established for each indicator, the rankings were then averaged for each issue area and overall to create an overall score.

6. Average rankings were ranked – Finally, after an average ranking was calculated, this average was ranked 1-93 to create an overall ranking as well as an issue area specific ranking for each county.

Download the full report here to see the county by county rankings.

Thank you to our colleagues at Voices for Children for providing this valuable information. 

Powered by Firespring