Indiana Youth Institute

An annual conference for Indiana youth workers was held in Indianapolis this week. It’s the largest gathering for these workers in the Midwest with over 1,300 attendees this year.

The Indiana Youth Institute has hosted The Because KIDS COUNT Conference for 16 years. CEO Tami Silverman says it’s a chance for Hoosiers who work with children in many settings including schools, foster care, after school or crisis centers to come together.

The Indiana Youth Institute released its annual Kids Count data book Monday. The report measures children’s well-being in five categories: family, economics, education, health and safety.

It highlights the well-being of children in preschool through college – and finds a mixed bag. Overall, it finds, Indiana’s children are “surviving, not thriving.”

We took a dive into how Indiana’s students and school systems measure up.

Major takeaways:

Gordon / https://www.flickr.com/photos/monkeymashbutton/

According to a recent report released by the Indiana Department of Child Services, the majority of fatalities due to child abuse or neglect occur in babies and toddlers.

Of the 66 fatalities that occurred in 2014—the most recent year in which data is available—60 percent occurred in children three years old or younger.

DCS spokesman James Wide says the youngest children are the most vulnerable.

“If we’re not actively supervising these children then they will get into things that will hurt them,” he says.

Kids Count Data Center / http://datacenter.kidscount.org/publications

MENTAL HEALTH  

The Indiana Youth Institute’s annual Kids Count Data Book is out Monday and much of the information focuses on the health of Hoosier kids.

In Indiana, five percent of kids have been diagnosed with serious behavioral problems, four percent with anxiety and three percent with depression. All those rates are higher than the national average.

Study: Number Of Hoosier Kids In Poverty Increasing

Jul 21, 2015
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It’s a mixed bag in terms of economic well-being for Indiana’s children. The Hoosier State worsened in two of four areas in the Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2015 KIDS Count report.

In 2013, 30-percent of Hoosier kids’ parents lacked secure employment, compared to 28-percent in 2008. That’s despite the state’s unemployment rate dropping to pre-recession levels.

velkr0 / https://www.flickr.com/photos/velkr0/

The Indiana Youth Institute wants to help school counselors focus more on non-traditional postsecondary routes – essentially, options beyond a four-year college. That’s one of the goals of the Institute’s counseling conference being held this week.

Indiana Youth Institute Program Director Kate Coffman says universities don’t need much help pitching the traditional four-year route…and that’s why she says the Institute wants to help counselors promote alternatives, such as apprenticeships, the military, and industry certifications.

Jim Grey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mobilene/

Legislative leaders and the governor entered the 2015 Indiana General Assembly, declaring it an “education session” and saying there was work to be done addressing worrisome topics such as infant mortality rates.

Many of the education issues got buried under the political sparring between GOP leaders and Democratic state superintendent Glenda Ritz. And most other legislation missed out on coverage because of debate over the state’s so-called “religious freedom” bill.

Report: Indiana Second Highest For Incarcerated Parents

Feb 17, 2015
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Here‘s a sobering figure about school kids with jailed parents in Indiana: The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s new "Kids Count" report says Indiana has more children with parents who are or have been incarcerated than most states.

The report ranks Indiana number two in the nation for jailed parents, trailing only Kentucky.

Oklahoma, Ohio and Michigan round out the top five.

Indiana Youth Institute President and CEO Bill Stanczykiewicz says drug activity, particularly the meth epidemic, may play a large role.

Proposed E-Cigarette Regulations Creating Controversy

Jan 12, 2015
Barbara Harrington / http://www.ipbs.org/

As the popularity of electronic cigarettes grows, Indiana politicians are pushing for tougher regulations at the state level.

Legislators will consider a bill this session aimed at curbing teen use of the products.

The proposal comes shortly after a national survey revealed, for the first time ever, more teens used electronic cigarettes in 2014 than any tobacco products.

Indiana Youth Institute

Next month, the state will begin its pre-kindergarten pilot in four counties. It’ll add a fifth pilot county later in the year.

Indiana Youth Institute President Bill Stanczykiewicz says the term “pilot” is a bit of a misnomer, though.

He sat down with WBAA News Director Stan Jastrzebski to talk about advocating for early childhood education, but says it’ll likely be decades before the state can truly know if pre-k is making a difference.

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