The 28th Annual Report on the Conditions of Children in Orange County is now available, offering a comprehensive assessment of the health, economic well-being, education and safety of the County’s children.
The following areas have shown improvement for the lives and well-being of Orange County’s youth:
- Good Health: The rate of uninsured children continued to decline, dropping by more than half (56%) between 2014 and 2020 from 53,894 uninsured children to 24,253 uninsured children. This measure is a widely used indicator of health care access as children with health insurance are more likely to get timely prescription medications and care when needed; are more likely to get preventive care (including immunizations, dental care and vision screenings); and, overall, have better health outcomes.
- Economic Well-Being: The percentage of children receiving CalFresh increased slightly from 2019-20, ending a five-year decline. In 2020-21, more than one in 10 children under 18 (12.9% or 91,088 children) received CalFresh. As an indicator of poverty, an increase in the number of children receiving these benefits can be viewed as a negative trend but there has been significant outreach efforts in Orange County to ensure more eligible children are receiving these benefits.
- Educational Achievement: The high school dropout rate hit a 10-year low, while college readiness hit a 10-year high. The Orange County cohort dropout rate for 2020-21 was 4% compared to 8.9% in 2011-12. College readiness among these graduates also reached a
10-year high. In 2020-21, Orange County had 36,747 high school graduates, of which 57% were UC/CSU eligible, higher than California’s eligibility rate of 52%.
- Safe Homes and Communities: The juvenile arrest rate continued a decade-long decline, dropping by 81% since 2011. In 2020 there were 2,053 juvenile arrests compared with 10,801 juvenile arrests in 2011. An arrest is usually a youth’s first formal encounter with the juvenile justice system. It is important that at this first encounter a pattern of juvenile delinquency does not continue into adulthood.
While much progress has been made, continued areas of focus include behavioral health and housing, among others.
This year’s report also includes a special section that takes a deeper look at economic well-being and how it is changing and influencing the health and wellbeing of children and youth in Orange County.
“While this report reflects the myriad ways economic well-being influences children’s ability to be successful as they grow into adults, it also provides an opportunity to recognize the strength and resiliency of those children and their families as they face and overcome economic hardships,” said OC Board of Supervisors Chairman Doug Chaffee, Fourth District, who also served as the Chair of the Orange County Children’s Partnership (OCCP), the advisory board responsible for publishing the report in 2022. Chairman Chaffee continues, “Together, with the community, we can continue to build the support systems to help Orange County children achieve healthy, successful and safe lives.”
To read the full report, visit https://www.ssa.ocgov.com/about-us/news-publications/COCR.