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Children’s Initiative to produce City Heights report card

Linda Wong Kerberg
Linda Wong Kerberg, director of San Diego County Report Card on Children and Families and data-to-action for the Children’s Initiative, said the upcoming City Heights Report Card will “measure all of the efforts that are happening in City Heights. | Adam Ward

 

When The Children’s Initiative released its 2011 County Report Card it gave a snapshot of how San Diego was doing in a variety of categories: most were improving, but the trend of children living in poverty was increasing. The report card also showed that fewer San Diego children had basic immunization than in previous years.

This gave organizations a focus on where their efforts where needed the most. This spring, the Children’s Initiative aims to give City Heights its own report card, so activists have better tools to target their work and measure their success.

“We are excited about that, because that community is so mobilized, and I think once they see the data a lot of their efforts could be more focused on areas that they’d like to improve,” said Linda Wong Kerberg, director of San Diego County Report Card on Children and Families and data-to-action programs at the Children’s Initiative.

The Initiative started working with City Heights Partnership for Children for its City Heights report, she said. The California Endowment is funding the City Heights measurements to inform its Building Healthy Communities Initiative, which is a 10-year, $1 billion dollar effort to change the way that health happens in 14 communities across California, including City Heights.

The new countywide Report Card should debut in January 2014. The City Heights-specific report will follow in the spring. Categories will include topics like school attendance, school achievement, juvenile crime, substance abuse, poverty, and youth probation. 

“What we also do is provide the evidence-based practices that you can implement to improve,” she said. “We are using data from the report card, which is driving program development, so we can try to improve the trend on these indicators.”

For many organizations, this data provides a strategic map.

“Some of them use this for their strategic planning,” Wong Kerberg said. “Some of them use this for program development. We offer technical assistance. Some people use it for policy. We work really closely with groups across the county.”

Five San Diego foundations launched The Children's Initiative in 1992 to support the health of young people and families in San Diego County.

The Initiative focuses on three main areas, she said. One is health, including the Report Card. It also works on keeping young people out of the juvenile justice system and working with those who are on probation. Finally, it provides technical assistance to more than 350 after-school programs for high-risk, low-income youth.

In 2006, The Children's Initiative began producing the Report Card. It looked at the best report cards around the country and came up with a format “explaining what the indicator is, why it’s important, how we are doing and what strategies you can implement,” she said.

For the upcoming City Heights Report Card, the goal is “to help them to be able to measure all of the efforts that are happening in the City Heights area,” she said. “Are they really moving the needle with a lot of the programs going on there?”

 

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