A Check-up for U.S. Children

Findings from Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics report show gains and losses in the health of U.S. children

Stethoscope on a globeEach year, the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics releases a report about the current state of health and well being of the nation’s children. This snapshot not only provides the most recent statistics available, but also compares these data to previous years, to give a good overview of the health and well being of U.S. children, youth, and families.

America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being 2011 reports that U.S. children are improving on some measures of health and well-being, but could be doing better on others. For example, the teen pregnancy rate dropped for the second consecutive year, and fewer preterm infants were born in the United States than in the previous year. At the same time, more 8th grade students used illicit drugs, and more children lived in poverty than in the previous year. You can view Federal report shows drop in adolescent birth rate for a complete summary of the Forum’s findings.

The Forum is a working group of 22 federal agencies—including the NICHD—that are involved in activities related to the health of children, youth, and families. Using the most recently available federal statistics, the Forum measures different aspects of health and well-being and, in alternating years, publishes its findings in either a full report, which includes detailed data on 40 health indicators, or an In Brief report, which provides details on a few specific measures and summarizes progress on all measures from the previous year. This year’s report is a full report.

This year’s full report includes an adoption special feature, which focuses on measures that are not available often enough to be regular indicators. The report shows that adoption is preferred over alternatives, such as long-term foster care, and that most adopted children thrive, especially when adopted at a very young age.

Through the America’s Children report, the Forum strives to improve coordination and collaboration among its member agencies and other organizations, and to increase consistency in how federal data on children, youth, and families are collected and reported. All America’s Children reports are available through the Forum’s Web site at https://www.childstats.gov.

For more information, select one of the links below:


Originally posted: July 8, 2011

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