One of the greatest barriers to achieving our mission of preventing child abuse and neglect is the complexity of the issue. There is no one cause nor any one solution. A key tool to overcome this barrier is data. Data assists in understanding the story behind the issue. It helps eliminate assumptions, stereotypes and removes the societal filters that can prevent us from getting to the root cause of an issue.
Earlier this year, Alaska Children’s Trust (ACT) became the home of KIDS COUNT Alaska. KIDS COUNT maintains the best available data and statistics on the educational, social, economic and physical well-being of children. Through this partnership, ACT will have one more tool to support the statewide efforts to ensure all children grow up in safe, stable and nurturing environments.
To ensure this program meets the needs of our state, ACT hired Denali Daniels & Associates, Inc. (DDA) to conduct a review of what is being done in other states, what has been done in Alaska to date, and to identify what opportunities exist for expanding the positive impact of the program. This process included three components:
- Phase 1: Best Practices Research
- Phase 2: Stakeholder Advisory Committee Convening
- Phase 3: Stakeholder Survey
This process identified three core areas for development to ensure KIDS COUNT Alaska continues to be a strong resource to Alaskans:
- Establish a statewide advisory committee that will be responsible to clearly define KIDS COUNT Alaska’s priorities, which provide the framework for a manageable set of indicators.
- Establish a process that makes Alaska data more easily accessible, specifically utilizing technology.
- Build organizational infrastructure to support the work of the program.
Over the next year, it is the goal of ACT to grow our advocacy efforts and KIDS COUNT is just the beginning.