Why I picked it up: Families with young children, as well as school groups, are a key audience for museums. And we all know that museums can provide children with meaningful experiences …. experiences that are cherished, and sometimes change lives in obvious and not-so-obvious ways. But we meaningfully reach too few children, a social justice issue that museums have not truly reckoned with. So of course I picked this up.
What you need to know: The Annie E. Casey Foundation has been working on this annual "by the numbers" on child wellbeing since 1990; this 2017 book uses the most recent data (2015) from the US Census Bureau, the CDC, the US Department of Education, and other sources.
The Data Book examines child wellbeing across four factors, noting if there has been progress (or regression) over the past five years (so, since 2010).
Implications for museums: While this report doesn't directly mention museums, we have to be mindful that its focus is a key audience for all of us. In particular:
The website includes a wonderful tool for focusing in on one specific geographic area for a snapshot of child wellbeing. For some lucky states, it can even be refined by zip code. Go to datacenter.kidscount.org to start pulling your community's numbers.
Read or skip? Anyone who wants to serve all children in their community should skim through the report, check out page 53 for their state's ranking, and consider going to datacenter.kidscount.org to create more refined reports. They make it easy.
Full citation: "2017 Kids Count Data Book: State Trends in Child Well-Being." The Annie E. Casey Foundation. June 2017.
Have a suggestion for my reading list? Email it to me at susie (at) wilkeningconsulting (dot) com.
I respectfully acknowledge that I live and work on the lands of the Duwamish people, whose ancestors have lived here for generations. I thank them for their ongoing care of this land, and I endeavor to help museums bring forward a more complete and inclusive history and culture in their work.