CHILD AND FAMILY OUTCOMES

Based on the science of the developing child, we have identified 20 outcome measures to track the overall health and wellbeing of infants and toddlers and their parents. Each outcome is aligned with a PN-3 policy goal, and illustrates states’ success in meeting that goal or indicates where a state is lagging. State leaders should monitor all of the outcomes collectively to understand how children and families are faring in their state.

Although reviewing the aggregate health and wellbeing of children and families is important, states also must pay attention to disparities in outcomes by racial and ethnic group and by socioeconomic status. Racial and ethnic disparities in outcomes reveal long-standing patterns of racism and policy choices within states that discriminate against families of color. Eliminating these disparities must be a goal for all states. Yet, small sample sizes often prohibit the measurement of state-level racial and ethnic disparities in outcomes, unless many years of data are pooled into one sample. Pooling data across years, however, limits a state’s ability to track progress toward their goals over time.

The most recently available data in the national datasets are typically a year or two old before they are released for public use, which makes it difficult for states to measure the impact of recent policy changes on changes in outcomes. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this time lag an even larger concern. The crisis has exacerbated inequalities, but these disparities are not captured in our publicly available national data sets yet. To that end, knowing available data predate the COVID-19 pandemic, when possible we show the last 5 years of data for each state to demonstrate the direction states were headed prior to the pandemic in the health and wellbeing of young children and their parents.

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