The Annie E. Casey Foundation recently released their 2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book. It details how kids are doing across the United States, measuring overall child well-being, as well as ranking states in four specific areas: Economic Well-Being, Education, Health, and Family and Community. There are also individual state profiles, and Oklahoma’s data holds both good and bad news.
The KIDS COUNT Data Center ranks Oklahoma 40th overall in child well-being, and this is a slight improvement over last year. However, while the state made gains in five key areas, they fell in nine others while two remained unchanged. The worst news was in Economic Well-Being and Family and Community Indicators, where there simply was no improvement to report: more kids are living in poverty and in high poverty areas. Health was a mixed bag, showing a higher number of low-birth weight babies, which is bad, but also reporting more children with insurance and fewer child and teen deaths, which is obviously good news. Education trends looked somewhat better overall, with regards to preschool attendance and reading and math scores, but not enough high school students are graduating on time.
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Good news continues to roll in for the Kendall-Whittier and Eugene Field Neighborhoods. Last December, CAP received a $500,000 Promise Neighborhood planning grant to focus on revitalization in both communities. The inspiration for Promise Neighborhoods is based on the successful model of New York City’s Harlem Children’s Zone, a program featured in Waiting for Superman and various other media. These grants fund programs in high poverty neighborhoods which have a proven capacity to build partnerships and possess the necessary systems to track kids through school, so no one falls through the cracks.
This week, the Tulsa World reported that Tulsa Public Schools pledged to provide longitudinal data to track Kendall-Whittier and Eugene Field students as they progress through school. This collaboration also includes a pledge to join with other partners in efforts to reform educational strategies. Taken together, this means CAP is in a better position to compete for a $7 million dollar grant to provide cradle-to-career services to children in the Eugene Field and Kendall-Whittier neighborhoods. (more…)
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It’s the middle of summer: the heat is on and school is out. However, the needs of children living in low-income families have not changed. Current numbers indicate that 84% of students in Tulsa Public Schools are receiving free or reduced lunches and these children still require nutritious meals even when school is out. CAP’s “backpack for kids” program is taking place at Disney and Frost this summer, and is sending home food for preschool children 3-4 years old. In addition to this, the federal Summer Food Service Program is working to meet the needs of children eighteen years or younger. Known as Summer Café, they provide free meals to feed children in low-income households. There are no applications or documentation requirements. Summer Café will feed children regardless of school enrollment, citizenship or status.
This year, more than 60 sites across the city are serving breakfast and lunch, and this includes schools, worship centers and community centers. Tulsa Public Schools is one provider, and you can click here for more information or click here for serving locations. In addition to TPS, there are additional locations in Tulsa and the surrounding areas. Today’s Tulsa World article on Summer Café offers a list of non TPS sites offering meals. And another way to locate free meals in your area is to call the toll-free National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE. Not only will they give you information on the summer sties but it also offers additional food assistance information.
For Tulsa’s News Channel 8 coverage of Summer Café: click here.
To read more about food on our blog, click here.
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