Indices of Child Well-Being at the National and State Level
Kristin Moore, Child Trends
Laura Lippman, Child Trends
Sharon Vandivere, Child Trends
Bill O'Hare, Annie E. Casey Foundation
Christina Theokas, Child Trends
Margot Bloch, Child Trends
Governments have increasingly turned to monitoring outcomes as an accountability strategy. While child well-being represents a potential outcome, measures have been limited at the state and local level; and many aspects of well-being are not assessed. One response is to develop summary indices of child well-being at the national and state level. A major new data resource has been released -- the National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH), collected in 2002-03 by telephone by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau for 102,000 children across the nation, with state-specific samples of approximately 2,000 children per state. Using the NSCH, Child Trends is developing indices of child well-being and an index of the condition of children that adds contextual domains. The advantages and disadvantages of monitoring individual indicators, domain indices, an index of child well-being, and an index of the condition of children will be discussed.