2011 Report Card Reveals a Majority of Good News

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February 28, 2012 | 11:56am

The Children’s Initiative’s 2011 San Diego County Report Card on Children and Families was released today, revealing a majority of health indicators are headed in the right direction. But there are a few issues that are trending in the wrong direction.

The report card tracks 25 key indicators of children’s overall health and well-being to help the public and policymakers better understand and address problem areas, according to the Initiative.

Two major areas that showed improvement include the percentage of births to teen girls and connecting San Diego County families to nutrition benefits. The reduction of teen births in San Diego County has been greater than California and the nation. The County has also been able to double the number of eligible recipients receiving CalFresh (formerly known as food stamps) benefits.

The region lost ground in children’s oral health. The percentage of children who have never seen a dentist is the same as in 2005, which means San Diego County slipped behind the state average for the first time since 2001.

Child immunization was another area of concern. The percentage of children receiving the recommended schedule of vaccines has fallen to the lowest level in eight years, but that is a trend mirrored in national and state statistics.

“The majority of indicators are improving or maintaining despite recent economic troubles,” said San Diego County Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Greg Cox. “It is a credit to the vision and effort of our County staff and community partners that San Diego continues to make progress on improving the health of our children and families."

“Our County is committed to spending its resources in ways that achieve measureable and favorable results,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob. “We don’t just throw money at problem areas. The Report Card gauges our progress and includes recommendations that support our goals for a safer and healthier San Diego,” Jacob said.

The 2011 Report Card is the latest in a series originally created by the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency. The Children’s Initiative has produced the report since 2007. The 2011 edition includes new San Diego-specific recommendations for improvement and expands information on national best practices to improve outcomes for our children and families. Updates on recent achievements in San Diego County programs and policies have been added for every indicator.

The Children's Initiative was established in 1992 by five regional foundations and more than 40 community and public leaders, to serve as an advocate for effective policies, programs and services that support the health and well-being of children, youth and families in San Diego County.

The Report Card is available at thechildrensinitiative.org.