Data plus communication drive change for children's well-being

Data plus communication drive change for children's well-being

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Annie E. Casey Foundation has leveraged the power of information and communication to drive public investment in children and their families.

The foundation's KIDS COUNT project began in 1990 with a national data book comparing 10 indicators on children across the United States. The premise: If an accurate, comprehensive picture of what children need could be told, policy change would hopefully follow.

In a recent Stanford Social Innovation Review article on effectively communicating data, foundation leaders share insights gained over KIDS COUNT's quarter-century life so far. In 2012, for example, the foundation expanded the KIDS COUNT index to 16 indicators, and to go deeper into more issues, it created policy reports as well. An interactive data center also lets users view data on a state, county, and city level and create their own reports and graphics (go here for Florida's indicators). A new report digs even deeper into lessons learned by Annie E. Casey Foundation over the project's 25-year evolution.

In 2014 alone, KIDS COUNT grantees realized policy wins in 33 states, resulting in $8.3 billion in public investments for children and families, according to the SSIR piece, showing how "data and sustained, strategic communications can play a central role in improving public policy and practice on a wide scale."