Children’s Trust of South Carolina, the statewide organization working to prevent child abuse, neglect and injury, has released its annual KIDS COUNT child well-being data by county.
The county profiles rank South Carolina’s 46 counties on 16 indicators of child well-being across four domains: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. The data profiles reveal areas where counties have made progress as well as areas where a greater focus is needed to improve the lives of South Carolina’s families and children.
“With this data, we can work with communities to build well-being and resilience and prevent child abuse and neglect from occurring in the first place,” Dr. Melissa Strompolis, Children’s Trust director of research and evaluation, said.
York County ranked No. 1 overall for the fifth consecutive year. Rounding out 2018’s Top 10 were Lexington, Dorchester, Pickens, Greenville, Beaufort, Berkeley, Richland, Spartanburg, and Abbeville counties.
The counties making the biggest leaps were Georgetown, which improved by nine spots to No. 18; Chester, which climbed nine places to No. 32; Calhoun, which jumped eight spots to No. 24; and McCormick, which improved eight places to No. 34.
The county profiles provide extensive detail so that local experts can make data-driven decisions as they work to improve the lives of children and families. Children who reach educational milestones and live in economically stable homes and supportive communities are less likely to be at risk for negative outcomes, including child abuse and neglect.
“Community members are the key to using this data well – they are the experts who can identify what’s working and where additional support is needed,” Strompolis said.
Children’s Trust works with state and county partners on programs and initiatives that provide home visiting services, strengthen families, promote positive parenting, and address adverse childhood experiences.
These county profiles can help community organizations make smarter funding and service decisions, while the data can assist everyday citizens become better-informed advocates for policy change within their communities.
County-level data and profile sheets for each of South Carolina’s counties are available on our website. As the KIDS COUNT affiliate for South Carolina, a major initiative funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Children’s Trust uses this high-quality data and trend analysis to advance evidence-based programs that can help provide better futures for children.
When the annual national rankings were released in June, South Carolina achieved its highest placement to date at No. 38, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book.
County Data for Adverse Childhood Experiences
Children’s Trust also has released county data profiles that show the prevalence of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) for adults in each of the 46 counties. ACEs are serious childhood traumas that result in toxic stress, which can harm a child’s brain and development.
Toxic stress may prevent a child from learning, playing in a healthy way with other children, and result in long-term health problems. ACEs are common in South Carolina, which puts our population at risk for many poor health and social outcomes. The data in these county profiles provide a snapshot of the different outcomes with which ACEs are associated, and this information can be used as a tool to empower action in our communities.
Children’s Trust leads the statewide ACE Initiative through funding from the BlueCross® BlueShield® of South Carolina Foundation, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. It involves training child-serving professionals and sending them to different groups to talk about ACEs and explain how Children’s Trust is collecting and disseminating data; building a prevention planning framework; and promoting sound legislative policy to address ACEs in our communities.