Hawaii improves in national ranking of child well-being

2006 KIDS COUNT report outlines Hawaii's progress and setbacks on 10 indicators of well-being, highlights the number of children in family based child care

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Jun 27, 2006

WASHINGTON, DC—A new report released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation ranks Hawaiʻi 21st among all states according to its latest state-by-state comparison on the well-being of America‘s children, an improvement from last year‘s ranking of 24th in the nation. The 2006 KIDS COUNT Data Book reveals that Hawaiʻi has improved on four of the study‘s 10 measures of child well-being, experienced setbacks on five measures, and saw no change on one measure (idle teens) since 2000. This year‘s report highlights the early childhood experiences of young children, including a special focus on children under age six who are in family based child care.

The 17th annual KIDS COUNT Data Book reports that Hawaiʻi has made significant progress on four indicators of child well-being since 2000. Hawaiʻi‘s dropout rate is among the lowest in the nation. In 2004, only four percent of Hawaiʻi teens, ages 16-19, were high school dropouts. This is a 20 percent improvement since 2000, and places Hawaiʻi at 3rd in the nation for this measure. Hawaiʻi‘s teen birth rate also improved, decreasing from 46 births per 1,000 females, ages 15-19, in 2000 to 37 births per 1,000 females in 2003.

Hawaiʻi also experienced a 12-percent improvement for the percent of children living in families where no parent held full-time, year-round employment. In 2004, 36 percent of children under 18 lived with families where no parent had full-time year round employment, compared to 41 percent in 2000. While this was one of the largest improvements in the nation, Hawaiʻi‘s percent of children without secure parental employment was still greater than the national share of 33 percent, ranking Hawaiʻi at 36th in the nation—it‘s lowest ranking indicator.

Despite these improvements, Hawaiʻi‘s performance declined for several indicators. The most significant setback occurred for Hawaiʻi‘s teen death rate (ages 15-19). Hawaiʻi experienced a 32 percent increase since 2000—from 41 deaths per 100,000 teens in 2000 to 54 deaths per 100,000 teens in 2003, dropping Hawaiʻi‘s ranking on this measure from 2nd to 8th in the nation.

Similarly, Hawaiʻi‘s child death rate (ages 1-14) also worsened from 2000 to 2003—from 15 deaths per 100,000 children in 2000 to 18 deaths per 100,000 children in 2003. This dropped Hawaiʻi‘s ranking from 3rd to 9th in the nation for this measure. It should be noted, however, that although both Hawaiʻi‘s teen and child death rates experienced setbacks from 2000 to 2003, they are still more favorable than the national rates of 66 and 21 respectively.

Hawaiʻi Kids Count Project Director Marika Ripke, PhD, stated: "We need to do more to keep our children and youth safe and out of harms way. Whether these fatalities are due to child maltreatment, neglect, traffic accidents, or health issues, prevention is the key to reducing these unnecessary deaths."

The 2006 KIDS COUNT Data Book‘s essay, "Family, Friend, and Neighbor Care: Strengthening a Critical Resource to Help Young Children Succeed," focuses on a form of child care that has existed for decades, but has largely been overlooked. In this essay, the Casey Foundation calls for a variety of steps to enhance the quality of friend, family, and neighbor (FFN) care and highlights several efforts currently underway around the country to provide FFN caregivers with useful information, including delivering education materials through home visiting programs or resources hubs where providers can interact with child development professionals. Currently, 27 percent of Hawaiʻi‘s children under age six are in this type of child care arrangement.

The 2006 KIDS COUNT Data Book can be accessed online at the UH Mānoa Center on the Family‘s website at http://uhfamily.hawaii.edu/hawaii_kids_count/kids_count.asp

KIDS COUNT is funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The findings and conclusions presented are those of Hawaiʻi Kids Count, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Foundation.

For more information, visit: http://uhfamily.hawaii.edu