National Policy Reports

KIDS COUNT, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is a national and state-by-state effort to track the well-being of children in the United States. By providing high-quality data and trend analysis, KIDS COUNT seeks to enrich local, state and national discussions on ways to secure better futures for all children – and to raise the visibility of children’s issues through a nonpartisan, evidence-based lens. The following are the most recent national policy reports produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.




A Shared Sentence

The Devastating Toll of Parental Incarceration on Kids, Families and Communities

More than 5 million U.S. children have had a parent in jail or prison at some point in their lives. The incarceration of a parent can have as much impact on a child’s well-being as abuse or domestic violence. But while states spend heavily on corrections, few resources exist to support those left behind. A Shared Sentence offers commonsense proposals to address the increased poverty and stress that children of incarcerated parents experience.

A Shared Sentence - PDF



Every Kids Needs a Family cover

Every Kids Needs a Family

Giving Children in the Child Welfare System the Best Chance for Success

This KIDS COUNT policy report highlights state data that point to the urgent need to ensure, through sound policies and proven practices, that everything possible is being done to find loving, nurturing and supported families to children in foster care. The report also highlights the promising ways that state and local government leaders as well as policymakers, judges and private providers can work together as they strive to help these 57,000 children who are living in group placements – and overall, the more than 400,000 children in the care of child welfare systems.

Every Kid Needs a Family recommends how communities can widen the array of services available to help parents and children under stress within their own homes, so that children have a better chance of reuniting with their birth families and retaining bonds important to their development. And it shows ways in which residential treatment — a vital option for the small percentage of young people who cannot safely live in any family during treatment — can help those young people return to families more quickly and prepare them to thrive there.

Every Kid Needs a Family - PDF



Data Snapshot: Measuring Access to Opportunity

This KIDS COUNT data snapshot illustrates how outdated methods measuring poverty in the United States are giving an inaccurate picture of how families are really faring and what public programs are actually working. The brief introduces the more accurate Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) and shows how it shows lower state poverty rates.

Measuring Access to Opportunity - PDF

Media Release



Creating Opportunities for Families. A Two-Generation Approach

Breaking cycles of poverty requires strategies that address two generations at once and focus on education, public programs and local solutions, according to a new KIDS COUNT report, Creating Opportunities for Families: A Two-Generation Approach.

Creating Opportunity for Families - PDF



Kids Count Data Book - 2014 

The annual KIDS COUNT DATA BOOK (italics) shows South Carolina remains 45th in the nation in child well-being. While South Carolina children are showing progress in some areas, the progress is not significant enough for South Carolina’s children to move out of the bottom 10 percent of the country.

Kids Count Data Book, 2014 - PDF

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Race for Results

In this first-time index and new KIDS COUNT® policy report, Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children, South Carolina trails national levels. This new compilation shows South Carolina below national figures for its three largest racial and ethnic groups on how children are progressing on key milestones.

Race for Results - PDF

Race for Results Index Data

Race for Results Data for South Carolina

Race for Results South Carolina - PDF



Early Reading Proficiency in the United States

In this KIDS COUNT® data snapshot, the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds that 80 percent of lower-income fourth graders and 66 percent of all kids are not reading proficiently - a key predictor of a student’s future educational and economic success. If this trend continues, the country will not have enough skilled workers for an increasingly competitive global economy by the end of this decade.

Early Reading Proficiency in the United States finds that two-thirds of all children are not meeting an important benchmark: reading at grade level at the start of fourth grade. Of even greater concern is that the gap between students from higher- and lower-income families is growing wider, with 17 percent improvement seen among the former group compared to only a 6 percent improvement among their lower-income peers.

Early Reading Proficiency in the U.S. - PDF

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First Eight Years

South Carolina’s children are vulnerable and a new policy report makes recommendations to help ensure future success. The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s policy report, The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success, sounds the alarm that the nation is failing to invest enough in a child’s early years. For South Carolina, the warnings are especially relevant. Decades of brain and child development research shows that children who enter kindergarten with below-average language and cognition ability need effective practices and supportive measures to develop their social, emotional and learning skills. The report makes the correlation between poverty and age-appropriate cognitive ability.

The First Eight Years - PDF

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Youth Incarceration

In this KIDS COUNT data snapshot, the Casey Foundation finds that the rate of young people locked up because they were in trouble with the law dropped more than 40 percent over a 15-year period, with no decrease in public safety. The snapshot indicates that the number of young people in correctional facilities on a single day fell to 70,792 in 2010, from a high of 107,637 in 1995. The publication also recommends ways to continue reducing reliance on incarceration and improve the odds for young people involved in the juvenile justice system.Keeping pace with the national downward trend, S.C. has been successful in reducing youth incarcerations over the past decade.

Reducing Youth Incarceration - PDF

Infographic - PDF



Kinship Families

Kinship Care is when grandparents, other relatives and close family members have stepped forward to raise children whose parents can no longer care for them. This practice helps protect children and maintains strong family, community and cultural connections. When children cannot remain safely with their parents, other family and friends can provide a sense of security, positive identity and belonging. In South Carolina, the Department of Social Services as in other states, strongly recommends the use of Kinship Care. Today, more than one in four children in foster care are living with relatives rather than stranger foster care. This report explores the increased number of children living with extended family and close friends with recent data and recommendations on how to support kinship families.

Stepping Up For Kids - PDF

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High Poverty Communities

In February 2012 the Annie E. Casey Foundation released a data snapshot on children living in high-poverty communities. The report discusses how living in concentrated poverty is harmful for children, of concentrated poverty is defined and how concentrated poverty is on the rise. In South Carolina there are 133,000 children living in concentrated poverty. There has been a growth of more than 71,000 children living in concentrated poverty since 2000. This is an increase of 115 percent.

Data Snapshot on High Poverty Communities - PDF