The newest data from Kids Count, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is nothing short of staggering. There are so many factors to consider when service providers are trying to use best practices to help children grow up in safe, stable, nurturing homes. Or, when granting organizations and foundations are trying to determine what groups of children are at high risk or underserved.
Virginia may rank 9th overall, but what does that mean?
There are 1.8 million children (ages 0-17) in Virginia.
- 728,000 are in the 5 to 11 age range
- 15.5% live in poverty
- 41.2% receive free or reduced lunch at school
- 9.7% do not have health insurance
- 17% have one or more emotional, behavioral, or developmental conditions
- 5,664 are confirmed by Child Protective Services as a victim of maltreatment
Which number do you settle on? An overall ranking of 9? Our economic well-being rank of 11? A family and community rank of 12? A health rank of 11?
Or, don’t settle on a ranking at all. Instead, focus on 1: 1 child at a time, and 1 connection for that child at a time.
Think of it – what would 1 connection for one of the 5,664 abused and neglected children in our commonwealth have meant? Perhaps that number could have been 5,663. And wouldn’t that matter in a big way to that one child? Her family? Her community?
Numbers can feel equal parts cold and overwhelming. Perhaps we need to think about it like this: Every child counts. Which means every connection you make can count, too.
Learn more about SCAN’s Kids Need Connections campaign here.