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Voices for Illinois Children’s annual Illinois Kids Count reports examine the quality of life facing children and families throughout the state. The county-level and statewide statistics demonstrate trends, illustrate needs and support policy proposals. By providing these measures of child well-being, Illinois Kids Count aims to enrich discussions about ways to ensure better futures for all children.

Illinois Kids Count 2012: “Investing in Opportunities for Children – Now”

Providing opportunities that promote the full development of every child is a longstanding American value. But in a time of growing need, the state budget crisis is undermining hard-won progress in expanding opportunities for children. This year’s Illinois Kids Count report addresses the difficult challenges of improving opportunities and outcomes during a period of prolonged economic and fiscal crisis. “Investing in Opportunities for Children – Now” assesses the gains and setbacks for children and families in education, health and development, economic well-being, and other key areas, because investing in opportunities for children now can help ensure the future well-being of everyone in the state.



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“Spheres of Opportunities for Children”

Economic Well-Being

Data – Unemployment; Child poverty; Family income; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Illinois Child Care Assistance Program; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; Federal Tax Credits, Anti-poverty effects of federal programs

Essays – “The Anti-Opportunity Cycle: How Defunding Illinois’ Safety Net Will Impact Families,” by Sid Mohn; “Poor Women = Poor Children,” by Wendy Pollack

Families and Communities

Data – Teen mothers, unmarried mothers, household living arrangements; Family poverty rates; Children in immigrant families; Child abuse and neglect, children in substitute care; School safety, youth experience with violence, juvenile arrests; Crimes against children; After-school programs, youth services programs

Essays – “Wounds and Scars for a Lifetime,” by Sue Swisher; “The New Era of After-School,” by Kristin Allen; “The Success of Latinos & Our Future,” by Ricardo Estrada

Health and Development

Data – Health insurance coverage; Maternal and infant health; Family and community health programs; Food insecurity; Child nutrition; Mental health

Essays – “What Families Need in Mental Health Services,” by Scott G. Allen; “Providing Children Access to Quality Food Outside of School Hours,” by Kate Maehr


Data – Early learning programs; Student enrollment; Special education, English language learners; Education funding; NAEP 4th grade reading assessments; NAEP 4th grade math assessments; NAEP 8th grade reading assessments; NAEP 8th grade math assessments; NAEP 12th grade reading and math assessments; High school graduation, ACT scores; College costs, college enrollment and degrees awarded; Educational attainment

Essays – “Every Child Deserves a Quality Education,” by Andrea L. Zopp; “With or Without Disabilities: Effectively Educating All of Our Children,” by Lynette Chandler


“Strategic Investments in Children,” by Kathy Ryg

Appendix: County and School District Data

Child Population and Race-Ethnicity by County; Average Annual Unemployment Rates by County; Estimated Child Poverty Rates by County; Estimated Median Household Income by County; Substantiated Cases of Child Abuse and Neglect by County; Enrollment of Children in Medical Assistance Programs by County; State-Funded Prekindergarten Programs by County; Student Demographics and High School Graduation Rates in Selected School Districts; Average ACT College Admissions Test Scores in Selected School Districts