Data to Action - Poverty


Children living in poverty . According to the 2006 U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, 15% of San Diego County 's children are living in families with income below the federal poverty level (FPL). Poverty in itself is a risk factor for adverse child health and development, and children of color are disproportionately represented in this cohort. Among San Diego County 's population, 13% of white children live in poverty, compared to 23% of African-American children, 32% of American Indian children, 33% of Pacific Islander children, and 24% of Hispanic/Latino children. The effects of poverty on children have been widely studied and published. They include a greater exposure to and risk of: child abuse and neglect, parental substance abuse, family and community violence, environmental toxins, malnutrition and food insufficiency, chronic health conditions and disabilities, and poorer academic outcomes. Sustained poverty in childhood has a profound effect on early childhood development and the potential for school success.

  The project will begin by convening community stakeholders and program and policy leaders to discuss factors impacting current trends, barriers to improvement, and existing resources for each of the two selected indicators. The purpose of convening these stakeholders is to benefit from their expertise, perspectives, and unique knowledge about the factors behind the data and utilize this expansive knowledge base so that the team can determine what is needed to turn the curve in San Diego County .

Following the Results for Kids process (based on Friedman's "turn the curve" model), these stakeholders meet over a period of months to: 1) discuss the story behind the data (i.e., what is driving the trend, causing the problem), 2) participate in a scan of what works (i.e., report on local practices and consider national evidence-based practices not in use locally), and 3) develop priorities for an action plan to improve results. Our aim will be to select one or two recommendations for action that have meaning to the community, can feasibly be changed within this timeframe, and have potential for short-term impact.

We will identify the current barriers (e.g., environmental, political, cultural, and financial) to accomplishment of the recommended change. Methods for removing or minimizing barriers will also be identified and a consensus action plan will be formulated. By the end of the two-year project period, we will document process steps and specific changes in: 1) programs and policies, 2) access to health care and related services, and 3) family and personal behaviors. The change strategies implemented are expected to directly lead to improved health outcomes for children and families.