WASHINGTON - A new report from the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics shows the adolescent birth rate declined for the second consecutive year, preterm births declined for the third consecutive year, adolescent injury deaths declined, and fewer 12th graders binge drank, according to an annual statistical report on the well-being of the nation’s children and youth.
However, a higher proportion of 8th graders used illicit drugs, more children were likely to live in poverty, and fewer children were likely to live with at least one parent working year round, full time, according to the report, America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being 2011.
The report was compiled by a working group of 22 federal agencies that collect, analyze, and convey data on issues related to children and families. The report uses the most recently available major federal statistics on children and youth to measure family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health.
“It is reassuring to see continued declines in the preterm birth rate and adolescent birth rate,” said Alan E. Guttmacher, M.D., director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.”
The report provides statistical information on children and families in a non-technical, easy-to-use format to stimulate discussion among data providers, policymakers, and members of the public.
“This report documents some significant changes in several key areas,” said Edward Sondik, Ph.D., director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. “Preliminary data show significant declines in infant mortality and in fatal injuries to teens. These are very interesting snapshots of children’s health that we have in this report.”
This year’s report includes a special feature on adoption. Special features focus on measures not available with sufficient frequency to be regular indicators or which provide more detailed information about a topic. According to the report, adoption is preferred over alternatives such as long term foster care or care in group homes, emergency shelters, and orphanages. The report also noted that although most adopted children thrive, children who are adopted, particularly those adopted beyond the first months of life, experience disruptions in parenting that can have longstanding implications for their development and well-being. Among the statistics in the adoption special feature:
Among the findings in this year’s report: