A seminar for the 14th annual Children’s Health report Beyond ABC: Assessing the Well-Being of Children in Dallas County and the North Texas Corridor was recently held at the Communities Foundation of Texas.

Beyond ABC is an annual report and most comprehensible assessment that track the four factors–pediatric health care, education, economic security and safety–that affect North Texas children’s quality of life and influence their future development. For the first time, the report covers six counties: Collin, Cooke, Dallas, Denton, Fannin and Grayson counties. Also new in 2015, the report is now available in Spanish to support the continuously growing Spanish-speaking population in North Texas.

Dr. John McCaa served as the moderator to the panel of Dr. Tompthy Bray, Colleen Townsley Brinkmann, Jaime Hanks Meyers, Dr. Anu Partap and Dr. Ray Tsai at the presentation of findings from 2015 Beyond ABC for Children’s Health.

A panel of local leaders from the North Texas Food Bank, UT Dallas, Early Education Initiatives, The Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence and Children’s Health were at the event to discuss the report’s findings about the overall health and quality of life for children in our area.

Key findings to take note of from the 2015 report are:

  • Collin County ranked highest in the region in 2014 of third-graders who met the standard criteria on the state’s assessment tests, at 90.2 percent; Dallas County ranked lowest in the region, at 70.7 percent.
  • Over the past decade, the total number of youths committed to the juvenile justice system fell dramatically in the six counties, from 458 in 2003 to 95 in 2014. The change is profoundly due to Dallas County’s steep decline in commitments.
  • In 2014, almost half (49.1 percent) of children in Dallas County public schools grades 3-12 were overweight or obese.
  • All six counties have rates lower than the national average of adolescent pregnancies and a decline in sexually transmitted diseases.

The greatest thing about the discovery of these facts is that as a community we can join forces with Children’s Health and the other advocates and make positive changes in the lives of our North Texas youth. Some positivity definitely came about in this year’s findings, but we can always do more to improve these statistics. Children’s Health’s hope is that you take the time to read the 2015 Beyond ABC report and get inspired to learn more about what you can do to make a bigger difference.

For more than 100 years, Children’s Health has led the way in meeting the pediatric health care and wellness needs of North Texas. Over time, Children’s Health developed a variety of programs that speak to many of the issues in Beyond ABC, including:

  • A planned pilot Wellness Care program at the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) to connect vulnerable children to medical homes.
  • Children’s Health Pediatric Group, which provides primary care for newborns, infants and children through age 18 at its 20 locations throughout North Texas and accepts CHIP and Medicaid.
  • The Medical-Legal Partnership for Children–Dallas, which trains health care providers to effectively screen patients for school difficulties and educational delays.
  • Partnering with community organizations to sponsor application assistance events for Medicaid, CHIP and other government assistance programs.
  • The Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence, the state’s first center dedicated to the advancement of health for children in the foster care system.

After indicators from previous years were reviewed, the Advisory Board established the final list of indicators included in the 2015 document. Research staff at the University of Texas at Dallas Institute for Urban Policy Research then successfully identified the most reliable recent and historical data available for each of the six counties. For many of the indicators, the data is as recent as 2014.

Download the full report in English or Spanish at childrens.com/beyondabc

Colbea Smith

Colbea Smith is a young professional who grew up in Plano and loves the community she will always consider “home”. She is a proud alumna of Texas State University – Go Bobcats! – who spent most...