“America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2011” Is Released

The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics recently released its annual report on child and family issues. The report covers 41 key indicators of well-being on aspects of children’s lives in seven domains, including family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health. The report recognizes strengths and weaknesses in the child welfare system on an annual basis, while also suggesting long-term plans of action.

This year, there is an additional focus on data covering child adoption. The study shows that although most children are adopted below the age of 1 either through private domestic or international agencies, children adopted through foster care are more likely to be adopted between the ages of 2 and 10 years. The report also notes that although most adopted children thrive, children who are adopted, particularly those adopted beyond the first months of life, experience disruptions in parenting that can have longstanding implications for their development and well-being.

The statistical analysis in this year’s report also provides an understanding of some of the missing indicators in the child welfare system, suggesting areas in which to conduct further research. For instance, we have an idea of how many children are covered by health insurance agencies, but we are unable to recognize the quality of care received (e.g., care that is safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable, and patient-centered). Another need identified is for greater use of longitudinal studies to reflect long-term poverty among families with children to better understand the consequences of difficult economic circumstances.

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