PRESS RELEASE: 2019-2020 Minnesota KIDS COUNT Coffee Tour Emphasizes Importance of 2020 Census
2020 Census provides opportunity to count all children and ensure that data used to make decisions about public systems that support children’s growth and development needs is accurate.
St. Paul, Minn. – Children’s Defense Fund – Minnesota (CDF-MN) released the 2019 Minnesota KIDS COUNT Data Book, entitled “Navigating Systems for Children’s Well-being,” in November and kicked off a statewide tour of KIDS COUNT Coffees. The tour continues on May 7, 2020, in Carlton County to emphasize the importance of using data to inform the development and ongoing work of public systems to serve children and families and the critical role that Census 2020 will play in the use of data to support decision-making across government levels and across sectors.
Policymakers, community members, and the media are invited to learn about this year’s Data Book that focuses on trends in key indicators of child and family well-being and highlights public policy that has improved or could improve outcomes for our youngest residents and the entire state of Minnesota. The Data Book highlights the role of systems in providing residents of Minnesota with the programs and services needed to equip all children with what they need to become successful adults, and how data from Census 2020 will inform decision-making on so many fronts affecting children and families over the next ten years. The Data Book focuses on key systems that support child well-being: education, health, financial, mental health and child welfare. Featured as North Star Highlights in the book are programs and initiatives that use data to inform program and policy changes to improve outcomes for children.
“We must ensure that every child is counted in the 2020 Census, and ensure that the data informs investments in programs and policies. This data is critical in understanding how all children in Minnesota fare and reveals deep rooted disparities that children of color and American Indian children experience. Disparities in outcomes for children of color and American Indian children continue to persist in all areas of children’s lives and are the natural consequence of inequitable systems and structures. We continue to press for more culturally relevant programs and more equitable policies to address the gaps in outcomes,” said CDF-MN Executive Director Bharti Wahi.
“Children under age 5 represent the largest category of historically undercounted individuals in census counts. There is a lot at stake if a decade’s worth of funding decisions for education, health care, and many other systems that support children and families are made using incomplete data. With an accurate census count, public systems will be able to build a more equitable set of services for families, including additional investments for child care assistance to allow lower income parents to work while their children are kept safe in high-quality child care; increased investments in outreach for health insurance enrollment to ensure every child has access to affordable health care; and creating a statewide Paid Family and Medical Leave insurance program, so parents can care for newborn, newly adopted, or sick children without sacrificing economic security. When families are supported by policies and programs that offer work supports, targeted outreach, culturally relevant programming, and early interventions, not only will more children thrive, but we also improve our collective prosperity through increased productivity, economic diversity and community involvement while reducing costly interventions,” Wahi concluded.
About the KIDS COUNT Data Book and KIDS COUNT Coffee Tour: Every year, CDF-MN publishes the Minnesota KIDS COUNT Data Book and fact sheets for all 87 Minnesota counties (available upon request) through a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The book provides state data based on a variety of indicators that show the well-being of Minnesota’s children and families. The data serve as benchmarks of child well-being for policymakers and citizens and help to enrich local, state, and national discussions concerning ways to secure better futures for all children. CDF-MN organizes an annual KIDS COUNT Coffee Tour around the release of the book to provide policymakers and citizens from around the state with the opportunity to learn about the data and engage on issues of child well-being. Learn more about the KIDS COUNT Data Book and the dates and locations of other KIDS COUNT Coffee events across the state here.