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Policy Reports

The KIDS COUNT Policy Reports provide in-depth peer-reviewed analyses of specific public policy issues regarding the well-being of children in the United States.

  • Opening Doors for Young Parents (September 2018) In this KIDS COUNT policy report, the Annie E. Casey Foundation illustrates the challenges young parents encounter, especially in a changing economy. Young parents are like all parents - they need support, wages to sustain their families, and access to resources in order to raise their families and contribute to their communities and the nation's economy. This report examines national and state-level trends - highlighting areas of opportunity and concern - and then shares potential solutions that can help these families thrive.
  • Every Kid Needs a Family (May 2015) This KIDS COUNT policy report underscores a simple fact about childhood: Family matters. Yet, today in America, 57,000 children are still living in group placements. Readers will learn about limiting the role of residential treatment care to its intended purpose and how state and local leaders can work together to enhance family-oriented services and supports. The end goal? Brighter futures — and loving families — for some of our country’s most vulnerable children.
  • Creating Opportunity for Families: A Two Generation Approach (November 2014) Nearly half of the nation’s families with young children struggle to make ends meet. A new KIDS COUNT policy report makes the case for creating opportunity for families by addressing the needs of parents and their children simultaneously. Creating Opportunity for Families: A Two-Generation Approach describes a new approach to reducing poverty, which calls for connecting low-income families with early childhood education, job training and other tools to achieve financial stability and break the cycle of poverty — and recommends ways to help equip parents and children with what they need to thrive.
  • Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children (March 2014) In this KIDS COUNT policy report, the Foundation explores the intersection of kids, race and opportunity. The report features the new Race for Results Index, which compares how children are progressing on key milestones across racial and ethnic groups at the national and state levels. The index is based on 12 indicators that measure a child’s success in each stage of life, from birth to adulthood. The indicators were chosen based on the goal that all children should grow up in economically successful families, live in supportive communities and meet developmental, health and educational milestones.
  • The First Eight Years: Building a Foundation for Lifetime Success (December 2013) According to decades of research, the best way to ensure a successful workforce in the future is to invest in early childhood development now. And the best way to provide early learning for needy kids is by coordinating family, school and community efforts. But analysis shows that by age 8, most children in the United States are not on track in cognitive knowledge and skills because efforts are not coordinated or linked to outcomes. This KIDS COUNT policy report makes the case for an integrated and comprehensive solution to meet the developmental needs of all children through age 8.
  • Youth and Work: Restoring Teen and Young Adult Connections to Opportunity (March 2012) Twenty years ago, even as manufacturing jobs moved offshore, young people could still gain a foothold in the workforce through neighbourhood stores and restaurants. Over the past decade, youth could find a career track in construction, fueled by the housing boom. In today's economy, the options seem to have disappeared, and America's young people stand last in line for jobs. This KIDS COUNT policy report suggests that business, government, philanthropy and communities must come together to create opportunities and build a stronger workforce for the future. Now is the time to undertake a flexible, focused and nimble approach to strengthen our systems and create new opportunities for disconnected youth. 
  • Stepping Up for Kids: What Government and Communities Should Do to Support Kinship Families (January 2012) This KIDS COUNT policy report summarizes the special role that grandparents, other relatives and close family friends play in the lives of children who cannot safely live with their parents.  Given that 1 in 11 children lives in kinship care at some point before the age of 18, the report provides recommendations for how for public systems, private agencies, faith based organizations and communities can support kinship families to ensure that their children thrive.
  • No Place for Kids: The Case for Reducing Juvenile Incarceration (October 2011) Backed with an array of research, the case against America’s youth prisons and correctional training schools can be neatly summarized in five words: dangerous, ineffective, unnecessary, wasteful and inadequate. This report highlights successful reform efforts from several states and provides recommendations for how states can reduce juvenile incarceration rates and redesign their juvenile correction systems to better serve young people and the public.