Children's Report Card Helps Bring Recognition to Sacramento as One of the ‘100 Best Communities for Young People'

Author: Jake Cowan and Tom Kingsley
Date Posted: August 29, 2011

The Sacramento County Children's Report Card, first published in 2000, was established to show how well the Sacramento community is fulfilling its promise to children. The 2002 Report Card highlighted many of the community's successes and challenges and the 2004 Report Card includes data and trends over the last four years in 45 indicators. The 2004 edition was a major contributor in Sacramento’s successful bid to be named one of the “100 Best Communities for Young People” by the national group America’s Promise. The report covered demographics, family economics, education, health, safety and social and emotional well-being. Community Link, formally known as the Community Services Planning Council (CSPC), provides the research and project management for the report card.

Creation of the Children’s Report Card was, and continues to be, a community-wide process. For the 2006 Children’s Report Card, the CSPC returned to the citizens of Sacramento County to ask their assistance in creating and updating this living community document. In the fall of 2005 more than 500 individuals, 36 percent of whom were youth under the age of 24, provided input on the relevance and importance of the indicators and identified additional key issues for possible inclusion. This input was gathered through a series of twenty-nine meetings in neighborhoods throughout the county. In response to the community input gathered, the 2006 report contains five new indicators: Nutrition and Fitness, Youth Development Assets, Community Safety, Access to Technology and Special Needs.

Every two years the CSPC holds a Children's Summit to plan activities for the coming year that will help improve results documented in the Report Card. The 2006 Children’s Summit included a policy panel, and a youth panel, and all attendees began work on drafting a Sacramento County Children’s Charter. Work on this Charter is ongoing with community wide participation from policy makers, youth, government and nonprofit youth service providers and others. The development of a Children’s Charter is an outgrowth of the increased focus placed on youth assets, as measured in the 2006 Children’s Report Card.

This story was initially published in Stories: Using Information in Community Building and Local Policy in June 2007.

This story was written by staff at the Urban Institute, drawn from documents and interviews with Katrina Middleton of the Community Services Planning Council. Community Link Capital Region was the Sacramento partner in the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership, a learning network coordinated by the Urban Institute, at the time of the story. All partners ensure communities have access to data and the skills to use information to advance equity and well-being across neighborhoods.

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