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Results for Child Well-Being Report

The 2012 Results for Child Well-Being report marks the latest edition in one of the longest-running State child outcomes reports in the nation.  A longstanding dedication to outcomes measurement is reflected in the comprehensiveness of this report. Over the years, the Results for Child Well-Being report has evolved to provide analysis on emerging trends in child well-being as well as the changing landscape of childhood in the state.  Maryland continues its focus on evaluating children’s outcomes and using that information to improve the efforts of child-serving agencies and local partners.

The goal of children’s services in Maryland is for all children to live fulfilled and successful lives. To ensure that this goal is being met, Maryland has chosen to focus on eight results which describe the general well-being of Maryland’s children and families. The State’s child-serving agencies use a Results Accountability framework to measure progress in realizing these results using measureable proxies for success called “indicators”.

The Results for Child Well-Being report examines indicators which fall under three overarching themes: health, education, and family and community environments. Overall, Maryland saw promising trends from these indicators—highlights from the 2012 Results for Child Well-Being report include:

Health

  • For the fourth consecutive year, Maryland saw a decrease in its infant mortality rate, reaching 6.3 per 1,000 live births. Governor Martin O’Malley’s original goal of a 10% reduction in the 2007 infant mortality rate was achieved in 2009, prompting the creation of a new goal.  With the reduction seen in the infant mortality rates this year, Maryland is well on its way to achieving the new goal of an additional 10% reduction of overall infant mortality and Black infant mortality by 2017.
  • The number of births to adolescents continued to decline, with a birth rate of 22.1 per 1,000 adolescents (ages 15-19).  Maryland remains significantly below the national average in this metric, as jurisdictions have developed their own plans to reduce teen pregnancies in their communities.

Education

  •  In academic year 2012, Maryland students achieved the highest passing rate on each of the three High School Assessments’ subject tests since 2009. High school students must pass the High School Assessments in order to graduate, and more than 80% of students who took each of the three subject-area tests received a passing grade.
  • The number of students absent for more than 20 days of the school year declined in 2012, reversing the increase seen between the 2010 and 2011 academic years.  By reducing the number of students missing more than 20 days each year, Maryland can ensure students receive every opportunity to learn and achieve in the classroom.

Community

  •  While the United States Department of Agriculture indicates that the rate of household food insecurity increased in 2012, Maryland has increased its efforts to connect low-income children to federal nutrition programs, led by the Governor’s Partnership to End Childhood Hunger. More children than ever before received a free or reduced-price school breakfast in 2012, ensuring more students can start their day prepared to learn.
  • The rate of referrals per 100,000 youth ages 10 – 17 for felony offenses decreased for the fourth consecutive year and is now less than half of the 2008 rate.

While there is undoubtedly a significant amount of good news contained in this report, there are also indicators that show an ongoing need for intervention and services.  Overall, the recession continued to impact Maryland’s children and families.  Homelessness among public school children rose to 1.69% of enrollment, sustaining the trend in place since the 2003-2004 school year.  The percentage of young adults (ages 16-24) employed in 2012 again declined, and the child poverty rate reached its highest point in 15 years.

Other indicators also showed some regression, for a variety of reasons. Vaccine coverage among children ages 19 – 35 months saw a significant decline in 2012. Additionally, the number of bullying and harassment incidents reported increased by more than 11% over the previous year.

This report, however, illustrates that Maryland’s children were better off in 2012 in many ways, and those indicators trending in the wrong direction offer an opportunity for course correction and additional interventions.  Maryland’s children continue to have access to a high quality education through the State’s public school system, live in communities where poverty rates and hunger are far below the national average, and enter the workforce at higher rates as young adults than the rest of the country.

For a complete set of jurisdictional data, click here.

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