County-level data is a powerful tool for local stakeholders to address areas of need
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, August 13, 2021 — Do babies and young children in Illinois have equitable access to high-quality programs/services that support their development, particularly children from historically marginalized groups? To help answer this question, Erikson Institute recently released the second edition of the Risk and Reach Report, which features mostly 2019 data that provide a comprehensive, county-by-county analysis of Risk factors that undermine optimal child development for the 916,880 children aged 5 and under in Illinois (7.32% of the state’s population) and compares them to the Reach of publicly funded programs and services that support early childhood well-being. Coupled with 2016 data from the first Report, the 2019 data establishes a baseline measuring conditions for children and their families prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can download the report and watch a short video about it here.
With visuals that distill complex data into at-a-glance maps, the Report presents risk factors with data on government resources that are intended to reach or address those risks. The Report is a powerful tool for elected officials and community leaders to build a deeper understanding of the circumstances in their communities and develop action plans to better allocate resources, improve policies, and develop stronger systems so young children can reach their fullest potential.
“Taken together, the data in the Report can help challenge assumptions, as risk exists across the state, and indicate where efforts to mitigate risk seem to be working—thus providing potential solutions for more communities,” said Maura Daly, Chief External Affairs Officer for Erikson Institute.
Data are organized by the three domains that define and inform early experiences: Family Stability, Health, and Early Care & Education. In total, data consist of 15 risk indicators and 19 reach indicators. Where possible, indicators are disaggregated by race and ethnicity at the state level to better understand disparities and inform strategies to alleviate risks.
Key takeaways from the second edition of the Report include:
“It’s important to note that the data should be utilized to ignite conversation and requires contextualization by communities and local stakeholders to understand the root causes of risk and develop solutions,” Daly said.
Dialogue among local leaders and community members, including families who benefit from public resources, is essential for planning action steps based on local needs.
The Illinois Risk and Reach Report is a collaborative effort of three organizations committed to ensuring young children have access to high-quality early childhood programs, services, and equitable opportunities to thrive, Erikson Institute, Illinois Early Childhood Asset Map (IECAM) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Voices for Illinois Children. These organizations were guided by The Risk and Reach Advisory Council, a group of more than 40 stakeholders from across the state. The 2021 report was generously funded by the Irving Harris Foundation, Pritzker Children’s Initiative, and the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development.
Erikson Institute educates, inspires, and promotes leadership to serve the needs of children and families. We are the premier graduate school dedicated to child development. We provide direct services to our community’s most vulnerable children and families. We are leaders in influencing early childhood policy. We work tirelessly every day so that all children can achieve optimal educational, social, emotional, and physical well-being. At Erikson Institute, we know that investing in the early years of children will last a lifetime.
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