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BACKGROUND AND COUNTY DESCRIPTION

This tool relies in part on survey data from the United States Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research’s California Health Interview Survey, and WestEd’s California Healthy Kids Survey. As with all survey data, information from these sources are estimates based on samples of the population and should be interpreted as the best available representations of the county communities.

County Star Ratings for Health, Education, and Child Welfare & Economic Well-BeingCounty Star Ratings reflect a relative measurement of a county’s ability to meet the needs of children in the areas of health, education, and child welfare and economic well-being. The star rating is based upon a standardized score (z-score) created for indicators within each of the categories of indicators. The standard score is the number of standard deviations an observation is from the mean. Standard scores were derived by subtracting the mean score of an indicator across counties from the individual county scores for that indicator and dividing the amount by the standard deviation for that distribution of scores. All measures were given the same weight in calculating the total standard score. In some instances data for smaller counties represents a 3-year average and these are detailed in the notes and sources for each indicator. For this analysis, data marked as ‘NA’ has been replaced with an average of all county data for each indicator in order to create rankings across all counties. These scores were then put on a scale of 1 to 5 with lower values representing worse outcomes for children, and higher values representing more positive outcomes. Groupings for the creation of the star system were: under 1.75 = 1 star; 1.75 to 2.74 = 2 stars, 2.75 to 3.74 = 3 stars, 3.75 to 4.74 = 4 stars, and 4.75 and above = 5 stars.

Child Population by Race/EthnicityIncludes the number of children, ages 0-17, living in each county. Data are based on Children Now analysis of population estimates from the California Department of Finance, Demographic Research Unit, Race/Ethnic Population with Age and Sex Detail, 2010-2060 (February 2014). Race/Ethnicity categories are self-reported by the respondent or her/his parent. Latino includes any respondent who identifies as Hispanic or Latino, regardless of race. White includes any respondent who identifies as white, non-Hispanic. African American includes any respondent who identifies as either African American or black. Asian includes any respondent who identifies as Asian American, Asian, Filipino, or Pacific Islander. Other includes any respondent who identifies as Native American, multiracial, missing, or declined to state her/his race/ethnicity.

Children Living in PovertyIncludes the percentage of children living in poverty based on the percentage of children living at or below 100% of the federal poverty level (FPL). In 2012 the federal poverty level was $23,283 for a family of two adults and two children. Data based upon Population Reference Bureau analysis of U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) Public Use Microdata Sample 2006-08 and 2010-12, 3-Year Estimates (June 2014).

Average Family Income (Median Income)Provides the income midpoint for households with children residing in the home. Half of household with children have incomes above the median and half have incomes that fall below the dollar amount provided. Data based upon U.S. Census Bureau, ACS 2008-2012, 5-Year Estimates as cited on Kidsdata.org (February 2014).

Families Can Afford Basic Living Expenses (Self-Sufficiency Standard)Includes the percentage of families with children whose income is adequate to cover the basic costs for housing, food, child care, health care, transportation and other expenses (i.e. the Family Economic Self-Sufficiency Standard). Using cost estimates for basic expenses, the California Family Economic Self-Sufficiency Standard also adjusts for applicable taxes and tax credits to define the wages needed to provide for the basic needs of a family relative to the local cost of living. Data prepared by Dr. Diana Pearce, Center for Women's Welfare, School of Social Work, University of Washington as cited on Kidsdata.org (March 2014).

NA (Not Available)Data that are not available are noted as NA. The most frequent reasons for NAs include the unavailability of longitudinal data, fewer than 10 cases (low number events), and statistically unstable estimates.

Education

1. Young children, ages 0-5, who are read to every dayIncludes the percentage of children, ages 0-5, who have books read to them every day of the week. County Data are based on California Health Interview Survey, Child and Teen Health Profiles 2011-12, (April 2014). Children Now conducted analysis of race/ethnicity data, using “Ask CHIS” to create multi-year estimates, pooling together 2009 and 2011-12 data, (June 2014). CHIS clusters responses into multi-county groups for select low-population counties. The multi-county groups are as follows: (1) Del Norte, Siskiyou, Lassen, Trinity, Plumas, Sierra, and Modoc counties; (2) Tehama, Glenn, and Colusa counties; (3) Tuolumne, Sierra, Calaveras, Amador, Inyo, Mariposa, Mono, and Alpine counties.

2. 3- and 4-year-olds who attend preschoolIncludes the percentage of children, ages 3 and 4, who attend nursery school or preschool, as reported by parents. Data based upon Population Reference Bureau analysis of U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) 2008-10 and 2010-12, 3-Year Estimates (June 2014). For this analysis, ACS data are clustered into six multi-county groups for select low-population counties. The multi-county groups are as follows: (1) Del Norte, Siskiyou, Lassen, Nevada, Plumas, Sierra, and Modoc counties; (2) Tehama, Glenn, Colusa, and Trinity counties; (3) Monterey and San Benito counties; (4) Tuolumne, Calaveras, Amador, Inyo, Mariposa, Mono, and Alpine counties; (5) Lake and Mendocino counties; (6) Sutter and Yuba counties. An asterisk (*) indicates data with a margin of error between 5 – 10%.

3. 3rd graders who read at grade levelIncludes the percentage of 3rd grade students who scored “Advanced” or “Proficient” on the English Language Arts portion of the California Standards Test (CST), as a percentage of all test-takers. Children Now analysis of Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Results, 2010-11 and 2012-13, from California Department of Education, DataQuest, (May 2014).

4. 7th graders who meet or exceed state standards in mathIncludes the percentage of 7th grade students who scored “Advanced” or “Proficient” on the Mathematics portion of the California Standards Test (CST), as a percentage of all test-takers. Children Now analysis of Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) Results, 2010-11 and 2012-13, from California Department of Education, DataQuest, (May 2014).

5. Students who are low income and have access to a state-funded afterschool programIncludes the percentage of students who are eligible for Free and Reduced Price Meals that have access to a state funded afterschool program, as a percentage of all students who are eligible for Free and Reduced Price Meals. Students whose family income is less than or equal to 185% of the Federal Poverty Level are eligible for Free and Reduced Price Meals. Children Now analysis of Free or Reduced Price Meals eligibility, California Department of Education, DataQuest, (August 2014) and average daily afterschool slot availability data provided by After School Division, California Department of Education (August 2014).

6. High school science classes that are taught by a highly qualified teacherIncludes the percentage of secondary science courses taught by a “Highly Qualified Teacher” (HQT). The federal definition of a “Highly Qualified Teacher” is threefold: teachers must (1) hold at least a bachelor’s degree, (2) be appropriately licensed by the state and (3) demonstrate subject matter competency. Children Now analysis of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Core and Compliant Classes by Subject Area, 2008-09 and 2011-12, from California Department of Education, DataQuest, (May 2014).

7. Students who feel connected to their schoolIncludes the percentage of students in the 9th and 11th grades who feel connected to their school. WestEd analysis of California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS), 2009-11 and 2011-13, including analysis by race and ethnicity, which includes the following questions asked to create a composite indicator: “How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statements about your school: I feel close to people at this school; I am happy to be at this school; I feel like I am part of this school; the teachers at this school treat students fairly; I feel safe in my school” (July 2014). Data availability is based upon survey participation. Therefore, if too few districts administered CHKS in 2011-12 and 2012-13 the county will have insufficient data to produce reliable results and therefore will have an NA in lieu of data.

8. Suspensions that are limited to serious offenses, not willful defianceIncludes the percentage of suspensions that are not the result of willful defiance, as a percentage of all suspensions. The designation of “willful defiance” is problematic because of its ambiguity. While there are no clear criteria for offenses that constitute willful defiance, it can include disruptive behavior, such as eye rolling, coming to class late or talking back to a teacher. Children Now analysis of data from California Department of Education, DataQuest, data on total suspensions and total suspensions coded as willful defiance, 2010-11 and 2012-13 (July 2014).

9. Expulsions that are limited to serious offenses, not willful defianceIncludes the percentage of expulsions that are not the result of willful defiance, as a percentage of all expulsions. The designation of “willful defiance” is problematic because of its ambiguity. While there are no clear criteria for offenses that constitute willful defiance, it can include disruptive behavior, such as eye rolling, coming to class late or talking back to a teacher. Children Now analysis of data from California Department of Education, DataQuest, data on total expulsions and total expulsions coded as willful defiance, 2010-11 and 2012-13 (July 2014). For the Modoc county 2014 Scorecard data point, Children Now created a 3-year average combining 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 data in lieu of a low number event.

10. Students who are ready or conditionally ready for college-level math coursesIncludes the percentage of 11th grade students who score “Ready for College” or “Ready for College – Conditional” on the Mathematics portion of California State University’s Early Assessment Program (EAP), as a percentage of all test-takers. Children Now analysis of EAP data for 2010-11 and 2012-13, from California State University, (June 2014).

11. 12th graders who graduate on timeIncludes the percentage of students who graduate from high school within four years. Children Now analysis of Cohort Outcome Summary data, County Level Analysis of Graduation Data for the Classes, 2010-11 and 2012-13, from California Department of Education, DataQuest (June 2014).

NA (Not Available)Data that are not available are noted as NA. The most frequent reasons for NAs include the unavailability of longitudinal data, fewer than 10 cases (low number events), and statistically unstable estimates. Data that are created from a 3-year average or a larger confidence interval are noted with an asterisk (*).

Health

1. Women who receive early prenatal careIncludes the percentage of women whose first prenatal care visit takes place within the first trimester of pregnancy. Location is based on the mother’s place of residence, as reported on the child’s birth certificate. Race/ethnicity is based on the mother’s race/ethnicity and excludes data collected on women for whom the initiation of prenatal care was unknown. Children Now analysis of data from California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Center for Health Statistics, Automated Vital Statistics System (AVSS), 2010 and 2012 and race/ethnicity data from CDPH, Center for Health Statistics, AVSS, 2012, (May 2014). For Alpine county, Children Now calculated a 3-year average for 2014 Scorecard data including race/ethnicity (combining 2010, 2011, and 2012) and for 2012 Scorecard data (combining 2008, 2009, and 2010) in lieu of a low number event.

2. Newborns who are exclusively breastfed while in the hospitalIncludes the percentage of newborns whose mothers initiate exclusive in-hospital breastfeeding. Children Now analysis, including race/ethnicity, of data from California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Newborn Screening Program, In-Hospital Breastfeeding Initiation Data, 2012 (April 2014). The 2012 Scorecard data is based on Kidsdata.org analysis of CDPH, Center for Family Health, Genetic Disease Screening Program, Newborn Screening Data, 2010 (June 2014).

3. Children who have health insurance for the entire yearIncludes the percentage of children, ages 0-17, who have health insurance for the entire year, as a percentage of all children. County-level data are based on California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), Child and Teen Health Profile 2011-12 (July 2014). Children Now analysis of race/ethnicity data utilizes “Ask CHIS” to create multi-year estimates, pooling together 2009 and 2011-12 data (June 2014). CHIS clusters responses into multi-county groups for select low-population counties. The multi-county groups are as follows: (1) Del Norte, Siskiyou, Lassen, Trinity, Plumas, Sierra, and Modoc counties; (2) Tehama, Glenn, and Colusa counties; (3)Tuolumne, Sierra, Calaveras, Amador, Inyo, Mariposa, Mono, and Alpine counties.

4. Children with a usual source of health careIncludes the percentage of children, ages 0-17, who have a usual source of health care, as a percentage of all children. Estimates exclude emergency room and urgent care visits as a usual source of care. County-level data are based on California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), Child and Teen Health Profile 2011-12 (July 2014). Children Now analysis of race/ethnicity data utilizes “Ask CHIS” to create multi-year estimates, pooling together 2009 and 2011-12 (July 2014). CHIS clusters responses into multi-county groups for select low-population counties. The multi-county groups are as follows: (1) Del Norte, Siskiyou, Lassen, Trinity, Plumas, Sierra, and Modoc counties; (2) Tehama, Glenn, and Colusa counties; (3)Tuolumne, Sierra, Calaveras, Amador, Inyo, Mariposa, Mono, and Alpine counties.

5. Children who have visited a dentist in the last yearIncludes the percentage of children, ages 2-17, who have been to a dentist in the last year, as a percentage of all children. County-level data are based on California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), Child and Teen Health Profiles 20011-12 (July 2012). Children Now analysis of race/ethnicity data utilizes “Ask CHIS” to create multi-year estimates, pooling together 2009 and 2011-12 (July 2014). CHIS clusters responses into multi-county groups for select low-population counties. The multi-county groups are as follows: (1) Del Norte, Siskiyou, Lassen, Trinity, Plumas, Sierra, and Modoc counties; (2) Tehama, Glenn, and Colusa counties; (3)Tuolumne, Sierra, Calaveras, Amador, Inyo, Mariposa, Mono, and Alpine counties.

6. Asthmatic children who have been given an asthma management planIncludes the percentage of asthmatic children, ages 0-17, who are provided an asthma management plan by a physician, as a percentage of all asthmatic children. California Breathing multi-year estimate analysis of California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), 2007, 2009 and 20011-12 (August 2014). CHIS clusters responses into multi-county groups for select low-population counties. The multi-county groups are as follows: (1) Del Norte, Siskiyou, Lassen, Trinity, Plumas, Sierra, and Modoc counties; (2) Tehama, Glenn, and Colusa counties; (3) Tuolumne, Sierra, Calaveras, Amador, Inyo, Mariposa, Mono, and Alpine counties. Ethnicity data is not available due to small sampling size and instability.

7. Children who are in a healthy weight zoneIncludes the percentage of students in seventh grade who are in the Healthy Fitness Zone for Body Composition. Children Now analysis of county-level data and county-level race/ethnicity 2012-13 data obtained from California Department of Education (CDE), California Physical Fitness Test, DataQuest (May 2014). The 2012 Scorecard data is based on Kidsdata.org analysis of CDE, Physical Fitness Testing Research Files, 2009-10 as cited on Kidsdata.org (July 2014) For Sierra county, Children Now calculated a 3-year average for 2014 Scorecard data including race/ethnicity (combining 2010-11, 2011-12, and 2012-13) and for 2012 Scorecard data (combining 2008-09, 2009-10, and 2010-11) in lieu of a low number event.

8. Students who are low income and eat free or reduced price breakfasts during the school yearIncludes the percentage of students who participate in the School Breakfast Program (SBP) during the school year, as a percentage of those who are eligible for Free and Reduced Price Meals. Students whose family income is less than or equal to 185% of the Federal Poverty Level are eligible for Free and Reduced Price Meals. Data obtained from California Department of Education, 2009-10 and 2012-13, as provided by California Food Policy Advocates (August 2014).

9. Students who are low income and eat free or reduced price meals during the summerIncludes the percentage of students who participate in federal summer meal programs, as a percentage of those who participate in the National School Lunch Program during the school year. Students whose family income is less than or equal to 185% of the Federal Poverty Level are eligible for Free and Reduced Price Meals. Data obtained from California Department of Education, 2009-10 and 2012-13, as provided by California Food Policy Advocates (August 2014).

10. Schools that have a health centerIncludes the percentage of schools estimated to have a school-based health center, as a percentage of all public schools within a county. Children Now analysis of the “Number of schools per county,” 2010-11 and 2012-13, from California Department of Education, DataQuest (April 2012) and “School-based health centers by county,” California School Health Centers Association, 2011 and 2013, as cited in Kidsdata.org, (June 2014).

11. Adolescents who are not at risk for depressionIncludes the percentage of students in 7th, 9th and 11th grades who are not at risk of developing depression. WestEd analysis of California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS), 2009-11 and 2011-13, including analysis by race/ethnicity, “During the past 12 months, did you ever feel so sad or hopeless almost everyday for two weeks or more that you stopped doing some usual activities?” (June 2014). Data availability is based upon survey participation. Therefore, if too few districts administered CHKS in 2011-12 and 2012-13 the county will have insufficient data to produce reliable results.

NA (Not Available)Data that are not available are noted as NA. The most frequent reasons for NAs include the unavailability of longitudinal data, fewer than 10 cases (low number events), and statistically unstable estimates. Data that are created from a 3-year average or a larger confidence interval are noted with an asterisk (*).

CHILD WELFARE & ECONOMIC WELL-BEING

1. Young children, ages 0-3, who do not experience recurring neglect or abuseIncludes the percentage of children, ages 0-3, who are victims of a substantiated maltreatment allegation and who do not have a substantiated case of recurrent maltreatment within six months of the initial allegation. Children Now analysis of Child Welfare Dynamic Report System data, January-June 2011 and January-June 2013, “No Recurrence of Maltreatment” (S1.1), California Department of Social Services and UC Berkeley Center for Social Services Research, Child Welfare Data Analysis Bureau (May 2014). For Alpine, Amador, Inyo, Lassen, Modoc, Mono, and Sierra counties Children Now created a 3-year average for 2014 Scorecard data and race/ethnicity data (combining 2011, 2012, and 2013) and a 3-year average for 2012 Scorecard data (combining 2009, 2010, and 2011) in lieu of a low number event.

2. Children in the child welfare system who have stability in their placementIncludes the percentage of children, ages 0-17, who are entering into the child welfare system for at least eight days, up to 12 months, and who have had two or fewer out-of-home placements during that time. Children Now analysis of Child Welfare Dynamic Report System data, April 2011 to March 2012 and April 2013 to March 2014, “Placement Stability (8 Days To 12 Months In Care)” (C4.1), California Department of Social Services and Center for Social Services Research at University of California, Berkeley, Child Welfare Data Analysis Bureau (July 2014). For Alpine, Mono, and Sierra counties, Children Now created a 3-year average for 2014 Scorecard data and race/ethnicity data (combining 2012, 2013, and 2014) and a 3-year average for 2012 Scorecard data (combining 2010, 2011, and 2012) in lieu of a low number event.

3. Adolescents in the child welfare system who are placed in family-like settingsIncludes the percentage of children in foster care, ages 12-17, who are placed in a family-like setting at any given point in time, as a percentage of all placements. Family-like settings include placement with kin, in a foster home, Foster Family Agency (FFA) or FFA certified home, in a court-specified home, with a guardian, in a trial home visit, or a pre-adoption placement. Group care, transitional housing, and shelters are not considered family-like settings. Adolescents residing in the following placement types were excluded from the analysis because it could not be determined if an adolescent was living in a family-like setting: Supervised Independent Living Placements (SILP), other, runaway, missing, and non-foster care placements. Children Now analysis of Child Welfare Dynamic Report System, April 2010-12 and April 2012-14, “”Point in Time/Children in Foster Care,” California Department of Social Services and UC Berkeley Center for Social Services Research, Child Welfare Data Analysis Bureau (July 2014). For Colusa, Inyo, Mariposa, Modoc, Mono, and Sierra counties, Children Now created a 3-year average for 2014 Scorecard data and race/ethnicity data (combining 2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14) and a 3-year average for 2012 Scorecard data (combining 2009-10, 2010-11, and 2011-12) in lieu of a low number event.

4. Children in the child welfare system who have had a medical exam in the last yearIncludes the percentage of foster children, ages 0-17, who have been in foster care for at least 31 days and who have had at least one medical exam prior to their next birthday. Children Now analysis of Child Welfare Dynamic Report System data, January to March 2011 and January to March 2013, “Timely Medical Exam” (5B, Part 1), California Department of Social Services and Center for Social Services Research at University of California, Berkeley, Child Welfare Data Analysis Bureau (August 2014). For Inyo, Modoc, Mono, and Sierra counties Children Now created a 3-year average for 2014 Scorecard data and race/ethnicity data (combining 2011, 2012, and 2013) and a 3-year average for 2012 Scorecard data (combining 2009, 2010, and 2011) in lieu of a low number event.

5. Children in the child welfare system who exit to permanency within three yearsIncludes a six-month cohort measure of the percentage of children, ages 0-17, who have been in care for at least eight days, are entering foster care for the first time and are not still in the foster care system within 36 months of their first entry. Children Now analysis of Child Welfare Dynamic Report System, October 2008 to March 2009 and October 2010 to March 2011, “First Entries at 3 Years: Still In Care” (C1.3), California Department of Social Services and UC Berkeley Center for Social Services Research, Child Welfare Data Analysis Bureau (July 2014). For Inyo, Lassen, Modoc, Mono, Plumas, and Sierra counties Children Now created a 3-year average for 2014 Scorecard data and race/ethnicity data (combining 2008-09, 2009-10, and 2010-11) and a 3-year average for 2012 Scorecard data (combining 2006-07, 2007-08, and 2008-09) in lieu of a low number event.

6. Children who are not living in communities of concentrated povertyIncludes the percentage of children, ages 0-17, who are not living in census tracts where 30% or more of the residents are living below the federal poverty level. In 2012 the federal poverty level was $23,283 for a family of two adults and two children. Data based on U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2008-12, 5-Year Estimate; Annie E. Casey Foundation, KIDS COUNT Data Center, (March 2014), as cited on Kidsdata.org (August 2014).

7. Youth who attend school or are employedIncludes the percentage of youth, ages 16-19, who are either enrolled in school or working as a percentage of all youth ages 16-19. Data based upon Population Reference Bureau analysis of U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) Public Use Microdata Sample, 2006-08 and 2010-12, 3-Year Estimates (June 2014). For this analysis, ACS data are clustered into six multi-county groups for select low-population counties. The multi-county groups are as follows: (1) Del Norte, Siskiyou, Lassen, Nevada, Plumas, Sierra, and Modoc counties; (2) Tehama, Glenn, Colusa, and Trinity counties; (3) Monterey and San Benito counties; (4) Tuolumne, Calaveras, Amador, Inyo, Mariposa, Mono, and Alpine counties; (5) Lake and Mendocino counties; (6) Sutter and Yuba counties. An asterisk (*) indicates data with a margin of error between 5 – 10%.

NA (Not Available)Data that are not available are noted as NA. The most frequent reasons for NAs include the unavailability of longitudinal data, fewer than 10 cases (low number events), and statistically unstable estimates. Data that are created from a 3-year average or a larger confidence interval are noted with an asterisk (*).

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