The Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy (ICYFP) at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management has launched a new online data and analysis tool, providing unprecedented insight into wellbeing and equity among the ever-more diverse child population in the United States.
The site, diversitydatakids.org, allows users to create customized profiles, rankings and maps that make data visual and digestible. It also features a neighborhood-level child opportunity index, the first of its kind, developed in partnership with the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University. This index allows users to view interactive maps of the opportunities that are available to children in their own neighborhoods; a story that is often strikingly different by race/ethnicity.
In addition to providing this index and hundreds of standard data indicators broken down by race and ethnicity, this site generates unique, equity-focused indicators of known structural factors that influence disparities in healthy child development. It also allows users to drill down from the national level to smaller levels of geography such as metropolitan areas and school districts, and in some cases, down to the neighborhood level, providing pinpoint views of the often nuanced inequities present among children of various racial and ethnic groups.
“The U.S. child population is increasingly racially and ethnically diverse, but unfortunately not all children have the same opportunities for healthy development,” said Dolores Acevedo-Garcia, Director of ICYFP and principal investigator of the diversitydatakids.org project. “Our future hinges on our ability to ensure equitable opportunities for children across all racial and ethnic groups to lead healthy, productive lives. We hope that our data will equip users to become more informed advocates for all children and especially for vulnerable children.”
The U.S. philanthropy community is increasingly focused on data that promotes child advocacy through a lens of racial and ethnic equity. This project was originally funded with longtime support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which also supported the development of diversitydatakids.org’s parent project (www.diversitydata.org), created in 2007.
“Diversitydatakids.org is an invaluable resource for all communities working on racial equity. Census and other data that tell the story of our nation’s children will help refine the strategies the racial healing and racial equity movements use to accomplish this important work,” said Dr. Gail C. Christopher, Vice President of Program Strategy at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “We are proud of how this project has grown and evolved over the nine years of our partnership, and we are grateful for the tools it will continue to provide to foundation grantees in the years to come.”
The diversitydatakids.org project has also received support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), which has prioritized building an inclusive and equitable culture of health for all Americans. The RWJF Commission for a Healthier America has recently released recommendations to improve health through early childhood education, community development, and promoting health outside the medical system. The data that diversitydatakids.org provides is closely aligned with and will help monitor the Commissions’ health recommendations.
“We are working to build a culture of health for all Americans,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, “a culture in which the health of our children is a matter of fact, not a matter of chance. The diversitydatakids.org project can be an indispensable tool in helping communities assess their health – and then take steps to improve it. RWJF is very proud to be able to support this big step forward for children and their health.”
The launch of diversitydatakids.org is accompanied by the release of two fact sheets demonstrating how data can contribute to a more robust narrative around diversity and racial equity for children. The site will continue to release fact sheets and other content, sharing insights and providing examples of how data can be used by site visitors at any level of expertise.
The site’s launch is the culmination of years of work at ICYFP on collecting the highest-quality data available on the U.S. child population and representing it in a way that tells a compelling story: child experiences in America vary drastically by race and ethnicity, often in ways that are systematically unfair and avoidable. The diversitydatakids.org team and ICYFP hope that the project will illuminate these issues for the public and provide a toolkit for other researchers, policymakers, and advocates to effect positive, lasting change for children in the U.S.
For more information, visit www.diversitydatakids.org.
The Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy (CYFP)
The Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy (ICYFP) is located at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. The research team at ICYFP engages in both quantitative and qualitative research studies of children and families as well as the social policies that directly affect their wellbeing.
The mission of ICYFP is to conduct and disseminate policy-relevant research on the wellbeing, health and development of children and their families. ICYFP seeks to understand the causes of inequities in children’s ability to achieve health and to offer program and policy solutions to alleviate these inequities. Research at ICYFP is strongly focused on understanding and quantifying disparities among children and their families by race/ethnicity, immigrant status, socioeconomic status, or disability status as they manifest themselves in opportunities for good health, education, and financial stability.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve the health and health care of all Americans. We are striving to build a national culture of health that will enable all Americans to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create the conditions where vulnerable children can realize their full potential in school, work and life.
The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.