New KIDS COUNT Data Book Shows Improving Health, Declining Economic Security for Children in North Carolina

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012 | Author: Patti Mulligan

A Fresh Look at Child Well-Being

Revamped KIDS COUNT Data Book Shows Improving Health, Declining Economic Security for Children in North Carolina

(RALEIGH, NC)- If the new analysis released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation is any indication, previous investments in the health and education of children in North Carolina have generated dividends, returns which now stand in jeopardy due to recent state budget cuts and eroding family economic security.

The 2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book offers a sophisticated view of child well-being, swapping the report’s standard 10 indicator analysis for an index of 16 indicators grouped into four domains: Health, Economic Well-Being, Education, and Family and Community. The report shows North Carolina lands in the middle of the pack in Health (26) and Education (25), but lags behind in Economic Well-Being (35) and Family and Community (36).

North Carolina ranks 34th out of 50 states in overall child well-being.

“The 2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book shows mixed progress for children in North Carolina,” said Deborah Bryan, President and CEO of Action for Children North Carolina, a statewide child policy, research, and advocacy organization and home of the NC KIDS COUNT project. “Although changes in the Data Book prevent us from comparing this rank to previous years, the trend within many indicators, particularly those of economic well-being, show North Carolina children are losing important ground.”

Economic indicators, like the share of children living in poverty or whose parents lack full-time employment, are bellwethers, signaling looming challenges that upset other areas of child well-being long before their effects are captured in the data. The report finds children in North Carolina have been hard-hit in both areas, with the percent of children living in families where no parent has full-time, year round employment jumping 25 percent, from 28 percent in 2008 to 35 percent in 2010. One in every four children in North Carolina (25 percent) now lives in poverty.

Declining family economic security risks important health and education progress for North Carolina children. The report finds the number of children without health insurance declined 20 percent since the start of the recession. As children and families in North Carolina have lost access to employer-sponsored health insurance, either due to unemployment or declining employer participation, children’s access to health coverage has been bolstered by Medicaid and NC Health Choice, the state children’s health insurance program. Over 1 million children in North Carolina, more than four in every ten children in the state, receive access to health insurance through these programs.

In education, an area that has been called North Carolina’s brand, the state breaks into the top 20 best performing states, ranking 20th in two indicators: fourth grade reading proficiency and eighth graders proficient in math.

“For more than two decades, North Carolina made intentional, sustained investments in programs that help improve the health and education of our children,” said Bryan. “Examples include the NC Healthy Start Foundation, which supports better birth outcomes and saves the state money through lower healthcare costs, and pre-k programs, which help narrow reading and math achievement gaps and increase the state’s graduation rate.”

“Many of these investments,” Bryan continued, “have been eliminated or severely cut during the past two legislative sessions.”

The 2012 Data Book comes on the heels of a short legislative session that left children in North Carolina worse for the wear. After overriding a budget veto by Governor Perdue, the General Assembly enacted a budget that eliminated all state funding to the NC Healthy Start Foundation, made deep cuts to education, and scaled back critical prevention programming.

“Without a change in course from our elected leaders and recommitment to preserving the future health and prosperity of our state–our children,” said Bryan, “we can expect to see the damaging effects of these budget choices appear in future versions of the Data Book. North Carolina can, and must, do better for our children.”

Other highlights from the 2012 Data Book include:

The number of children living in high-poverty neighborhoods more than doubled over the past decade, increasing from 76,000 in 2000 to 212,000 during the current data year. One in 11 children in North Carolina now lives in high-poverty communities.

One in seven children in North Carolina (14 percent) lives in families where the household head lacks a high school diploma, down slightly from 16 percent in 2005. Parental education has been shown to affect children’s chances of graduating from high school, as well as their future labor market and health outcomes.

The 2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book with state-by-state rankings and supplemental data is now available at

To see a copy of the 2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book, visit:

Follow the Annie E. Casey Foundation on this issue on Twitter @aeckidscount and on Facebook at

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Action for Children North Carolina is a leading statewide, nonpartisan, nonprofit policy research and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that North Carolina children are healthy, safe, well-educated and have every opportunity for success. For more information, visit

Follow Action for Children North Carolina on Facebook at or Twitter @nckidscount.

Child Homicide Rates in North Carolina and Programs to Reduce Them

Thursday, July 19th, 2012 | Author: Patti Mulligan

(FORT BRAGG, N.C.)– A new report by Action for Children North Carolina finds that between 2001 and 2010 there were 251 homicides by parent/caregiver (HPC) of children from birth through ten years of age in North Carolina. That represents a 13.6% decline from the 1985-2000 period.

Of the 22 HPCs in Cumberland County, 10 were of children in active military families, which is a remarkable 16% decline from the prior period. There were 12 HPCs in civilian families, which is a 9.1% decline.

Action for Children North Carolina, in conjunction with Fort Bragg, will host a media roundtable at Stryker Golf Course on 17 July at 1:30 p.m. to discuss these findings and explain the programs Fort Bragg and Cumberland County’s Department of Social Services have implemented to help reduce homicides by parent/caregivers of children.

“Fort Bragg has taken an active role in reducing the stress placed on our families by implementing and reviewing the effectiveness of our Army Community Support programs and by coordinating our services with those of the Cumberland County Department of Social Services,” said Thomas M. Hill, Fort Bragg’s Family Advocacy Program Manager.  “One of the many benefits of these programs has been our ability to reduce abuse cases, including child homicides.  But we won’t rest on our laurels, we will continue to find ways of improving our effectiveness and increasing our assistance to our families”

“Despite the enormous stress that military families have been under in the past decade, the HPC rates in active military families dropped by a remarkable 16% in Cumberland”, said Tom Vitaglione, a senior fellow with Action for Children North Carolina. “While the HPC rates for civilian and military families in Cumberland County remain unacceptably high, the fact that this media release is occurring at Fort Bragg is an indicator of the commitment of civilian and military leaders to
continue making progress in the reduction of these rates. Children and families are relying on that commitment.”

A copy of Action for Children North Carolina’s report, Collateral Damage on the Home Front: Ten Years Later, Making Strides in Reducing Homicides by Parent or Caregiver in the Military is available online via the following link.–Action%20For%20Children%20North%20Carolina.pdf

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Action for Children North Carolina is a leading statewide, nonpartisan, nonprofit policy research and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that North Carolina children are healthy, safe, well-educated and have every opportunity for success. For more information, visit

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Smart Start of Forsyth County receives grant to conduct vision screening

Thursday, July 05th, 2012 | Author: Patti Mulligan

Winston-Salem, NC – Smart Start of Forsyth County, Inc. (SSFC) has received a grant from The Winston-Salem Foundation to provide 529 children in the Forsyth County NC Pre-K program with photo-refractive vision screening. 

Vision screening is critical to the early detection and correction of visual impairment in young children.  A small problem with vision can have major implications for the development of reading as well as gross and fine motor skill development.

“We are so grateful to The Winston-Salem Foundation,” according to Donna Faulconer, director of the county’s NC Pre-K program, “as this grant will allow us to help children and their families take the necessary corrective measures to address any visual challenges. These funds provide vital screening services and early intervention opportunities to ensure that our children get off to the right start for a life-time of learning.”

Under the direction of SSFC, Forsyth County’s NC Pre-K program provides high quality educational experiences to enhance school readiness for eligible four-year olds. The program focuses on different approaches to learning, emotional and social development, health and physical development, language and communication skills, and cognitive development.

The Winston-Salem Foundation provides millions of dollars to charitable organizations every year, to promote a better and stronger community. The Foundation and SSFC have worked together in the past and look forward to a bright future of building a strong community. This grant is possible through resources from the Claire Lockhart Follin-Mace Fund.


The Winston-Salem Foundation is a community foundation that supports charitable programs in the greater Forsyth County area.  Founded in 1919 by Colonel Francis Fries with a $1000 gift, it now administers over 1300 funds and had total custodial assets of over $276 million at the end of 2011.  In 2011, the Foundation granted more than $20.8 million to charitable causes, over $2.1 million of which was in Community Grants.  For more information, visit


 The earliest years of childhood are critical. Experiences during this time literally shape the structure of the brain. Because today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders, parents and workers, everyone has a stake in making sure all children have the experiences they need to thrive. Smart Start of Forsyth County, Inc, is a constituent part of North Carolina’s statewide Smart Start system that brings together all the people involved in a young child’s life—families, teachers, doctors, caregivers, social workers, and many others—to ensure every child has all they need for healthy growth and development. For more information about early childhood education, development, and care in Forsyth County, visit

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NC Farm to School Program Promotes Child Health and Helps Local Farmers

Monday, June 04th, 2012 | Author: Patti Mulligan

BCBSNC Foundation Grant Drives More NC Produce to More NC Students

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and the BCBSNC Foundation Team Up to Expand the NC Farm to School Program to 35 Additional School Systems

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) Foundation has invested $1.2 million to expand the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Farm to School Program in response to the growing problem of childhood obesity in North Carolina. The grant provides funding for five new refrigerated tractor-trailers, increasing the distribution of local fruits and vegetables to 35 additional school systems statewide.

“This expansion of the Farm to School program provides even more students with healthy, North Carolina-grown options, nutrition education and helps children connect their food to the farms where it grows, which are all important steps in preventing and reducing obesity,” said Kathy Higgins, BCBSNC Foundation president. “Our state’s child nutrition services focus on health and quality for our students and local, fresh food is an important component.”

In addition to the tractor-trailers, the grant supports a three-year Farm to School marketing initiative to teach children about what is being served in their school cafeteria, where it is grown, how to make healthy food choices and the importance of a healthy diet, as well as raise the profile of the Farm to School program among school systems across the state. Access to healthy food and the education to make smart choices are more important than ever as one in three children in North Carolina is obese or at risk of becoming obese.

“North Carolina school children are not the only beneficiaries from the expansion of the Farm to School program. Local farmers also benefit by serving the increasing number of schools receiving farm-fresh food,” said Steve Troxler, North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture. “More North Carolina school children will receive fresh produce, more often. And farmers will increase their customer base. The expansion of this program is a win for our entire state.”

NC Farm to School has been supplying North Carolina school cafeterias with locally grown produce since 1997. Last year the program served more than 900,000 students almost 1.4 million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables. Farm-fresh produce is provided throughout the school year and includes apples, blueberries, broccoli crowns, cabbage, cantaloupes, collards, cucumbers, peaches, romaine lettuce, squash, sprite melons, strawberries, sweet corn, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, watermelons and zucchini.

For more information, follow @BCBSNCFound and @NCAgriculture on Twitter or visit the Farm to School program website at

About NC Farm to School
The NC Farm to School Program was formed in 1997 by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Food Distribution and Marketing divisions to develop a system for schools across the state to receive fresh produce grown by local farmers. All school districts in North Carolina have the ability to be part of the Farm to School Program.

About the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services provides services that promote and improve agriculture and agribusiness, protect consumers and businesses, and preserve farmland and natural resources for the prosperity of all North Carolinians.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation is a separate, independent, nonprofit Foundation dedicated to improving the health and well-being of North Carolinians. The Foundation’s focus areas include: Health of Vulnerable Populations – improving health outcomes of populations served by safety net organizations; Healthy Active Communities – increasing physical activity and encouraging healthy eating habits; and Community Impact through Nonprofit Excellence – increasing the effectiveness of nonprofit organizations. BCBSNC Foundation invests programs and services in response to grant requests and proactively creates initiatives or partners with organizations to address specific needs. It also coordinates several Signature Programs, among them, the Be Active Kids® and Healthy Community Institute for Nonprofit Excellence. More information is available at Since its founding in 2000, the BCBSNC Foundation has invested $80.5 million into North Carolina communities through more than 600 grants.


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Webinar on Using the Neuroscience Tools – June 14th

Monday, June 04th, 2012 | Author: Patti Mulligan

Ready Nation

Webinar on Using the Neuroscience Tools – June 14th

Al Race, Deputy Director of the Harvard Center on the Developing Child, will be discussing how to best use the new ReadyNation annotated PowerPoint on the neuroscientific research on early brain development and the importance for children’s healthy growth. This PowerPoint and the other video options are intended to help non-scientists deliver this content to a variety of audiences. Sara Watson, Director of ReadyNation, will moderate. This webinar will take place on June 14th, 2012 from 3:00 – 4:00 pm ET, and is open to everyone.

Race will review the slides in the PowerPoint and then field questions. We also want to hear your experiences in using or preparing to use these materials.

If you have used the presentation already, send us an e-mail and let us know when, and how it was received. Feel free to also send questions in advance, to ensure that they are addressed.

Click here to register for this webinar

ReadyNation is a project of America’s Promise Alliance

1110 Vermont Avenue, N.W.
Suite 900
Washington, DC 20005

Webinar: Infusing a Developmental Approach into Child Welfare Services for Infants and Toddlers

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012 | Author: Patti Mulligan

Infusing a Developmental Approach into Child Welfare Services for Infants and Toddlers

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 2:00 PM Eastern
(1:00 PM Central, 12:00 PM Mountain, and 11:00 AM Pacific)

Register now:

This webinar, hosted by the ZERO TO THREE Policy Center, will highlight the release of an assessment tool for states entitled A Developmental Approach to Child Welfare Services for Infants, Toddlers, and Their Families: A Self-Assessment Tool for States and Counties Administering Child Welfare Services. The webinar will include a discussion of relevant data on infants, toddlers, and their families that will help states develop a clearer picture of strengths and gaps in their child welfare system. Representatives from Iowa and Connecticut will discuss their state initiatives to ensure a developmental approach to child welfare services for very young children, identify challenges they have faced in producing data on infants and toddlers in the child welfare system, and share how they plan to use the tool.

Infants and toddlers are the age group most vulnerable to maltreatment and its aftermath. Although this time of life is one of great vulnerability, it is a time of great potential to intervene early and effectively to prevent or minimize negative effects that may prove to be irreversible later in life. It is crucial that child welfare systems infuse guiding principles for infant and toddler development into practices and policies. The September 2011 passage of the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act, which instituted a new requirement for states to describe in their child welfare state plans how they promote permanency for and address the developmental needs of young children in their care, offers an opportunity for states to be more intentional in their efforts to meet the unique needs of infants, toddlers, and their families.


Facilitation by:
Assistant Director of Public Policy, ZERO TO THREE

Presentations by:
Patricia Cole
Director of Government Relations, ZERO TO THREE

Question and answer session
Barbara Gebhard
Assistant Director of Public Policy, ZERO TO THREE

Arlene F. Lee
Associate Director, Public Policy, Center for the Study of Social Policy

Wendy A. Rickman
Division Administrator, Iowa Department of Human Services

Janice Gruendel
Deputy Commissioner for Operations, Connecticut Department of Children and Families

Register now:

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McDowell Partnership for Children Grant for Preschool Dental Program in Rutherford and Polk Counties

Tuesday, May 08th, 2012 | Author: Patti Mulligan

McDowell Partnership for Children receives grant to expand Preschool Dental Program to Rutherford and Polk counties

Preschool Dental Health

The Healthy Smiles program will receive nearly $500K over 3 years to provide dental health services for at-risk preschoolers in Rutherford and Polk counties.

The McDowell County Partnership for Children has received a federal grant from the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) to provide a Preschool Dental Program for McDowell, Rutherford and Polk counties. The three-year grant totaling $446,759 will expand on an existing program of The McDowell Hospital and the McDowell Health Department, which is coming to an end. Five percent will be matched with cash and in-kind funds.

The project, called Healthy Smiles, will decrease the number of children entering kindergarten with untreated tooth decay. According to the most recent figures reported by the NC Oral Health Section, nearly one third of children in these counties enter kindergarten with untreated tooth decay.

“We are excited to receive funding for three additional years in McDowell and expand on the success of the hospital’s program by serving children in Rutherford and Polk counties,” said Partnership Executive Director Caroline Rodier. “We hope to replicate the results of the current grant-funded program in which we saw the number of McDowell children entering kindergarten with untreated tooth decay decline from 27% to 20% over three years.”

The project targets children enrolled in child care centers with limited oral exams and education. It also provides education and outreach to expectant mothers and the Latino community through dental screenings and education events. The project focuses on the concept of identifying and establishing young children with dental homes as an oral health prevention strategy.

Two full-time dental assistants will provide 1) early identification and case management for a dental home model, 2) targeted outreach and education for young children (ages birth to five), their parents, child care providers and expectant moms, 3) access to restorative dental services for children – birth through kindergarten, and 4) increase in the use of fluoride varnishing. A contracted dentist from Mission Children’s Dental Program will assist with dental screenings in child care centers and at community events.

The Dental Home is supported by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association as a best practice. It builds upon three evidence-based strategies for dental health, which include fluoridation of drinking water, fluoride varnishing and sealant projects. The Healthy Smiles project is similar to the Carolina Dental Home promising-practice model, but targets children in child care settings instead of through primary care practices.

An estimated 965 children will receive access to new and expanded programs and services, including limited oral exams, assistance with Medicaid enrollment, case management for establishing a dental home, and restorative dental services if needed through the grant-funded project.

Kindergarten Children with Untreated Tooth Decay 2003-2004 2004-2005 2005-2006 2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010 2010-2011
McDowell County 33% 30% 32% 32% 30% 27% 21% 20%
Rutherford County 31% 33% 32% 30% 33% 27%   24%
Polk County 38% 33% 38% 30% 29% 29% 24% 22%
North Carolina 23% 25% 23% 21% 18% 17%    
United States 24% 24% 24% 24% 24% 24% 24% 24%

Data for North Carolina, Rutherford, Polk, and McDowell counties is from the NC Oral Health Section. Data is not yet available for FY 2009-2010 or 2010-2011. The data shown above for Rutherford, Polk, and McDowell Counties has been provided by the NC Oral Health Section hygienists who conduct screenings in those counties. National data was provided by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research/NIH, 1999-2004 (  

Contact: Caroline Rodier, Executive Director
McDowell County Partnership for Children & Families
70 N. Main Street
Marion, NC 28752

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John Rex Endowment Invests Nearly $1.3M in Early Childhood Development

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012 | Author: Patti Mulligan

John Rex Endowment Invests Nearly $1.3M in Early Childhood Development

Lucy Daniels Center, Wake County Human Services and Wake County SmartStart will receive early childhood development grants totaling nearly $1.3 million from the John Rex Endowment.

The Lucy Daniels Center will receive $926,479 for a project that will focus on improving the capacity of 90 child care facilities in Wake County to develop and sustain policies and practices that support healthy social and emotional childhood development. A second grant of $300,000 has been designated to partially support the expansion and enhancement of the Lucy Daniels Center’s on-site, outpatient mental health services for young children.
Wake County Human Services will receive $16,500 for implementation of parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT) for families involved with child welfare. PCIT incorporates live coaching to foster healthier relationships, improve parent-child interactions and prevent child maltreatment.
Wake County SmartStart will receive $53,587 for the development of community-supported goals and strategies for a sustainable integrated system of home-based services for young children in Wake County.
“The mental, social and emotional health and well-being of children in Wake County is a priority area of funding,” said Kevin Cain, president and CEO of the John Rex Endowment. “By improving organizational, community, or system capacity; effectiveness; and efficiency, nonprofits in our community can make a significant impact on the development of infants and young children.”

Archived Webinar on Childhood Migration and Well-being

Monday, March 26th, 2012 | Author: Patti Mulligan

From the UNC Gillings School of Public Health

17th Annual Summer Public Health Research Institute and Videoconference on Minority Health

Health Equity: Progress and Pitfalls

Original Date: Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Childhood Migration and Well-being: A Framework for Understanding the Opportunities and Challenges, Krista M. Perreira, Ph.D.

Click through to watch the archived webinar.

Related Links:

Videoconference agenda and speaker biographies

Abstracts and background readings

Credits and acknowledgements

17th Annual Videoconference home page

Previous Videoconferences in this series

Minority Health Project archived webcasts

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Young Child Risk Calculator

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 | Author: Smart Start

The National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) released a new online tool, The Young Child Risk Calculator, which shows users how many children under age six in each state are experiencing serious risks to their development. The tool allows users to select from various age groups as well as economic and other risk factors known to affect children’s development. The risk factors used in the tool are known to increase the chance of poor health, school, and developmental outcomes for young children. NCCP also released their latest Early Childhood State Policy Profiles, a comprehensive view of state policies in the areas of health, early care and education, and parenting and economic supports, that affect the health and well-being of young children in low-income families.

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