2019 New Hampshire Kids Count Data Book

The 2019 New Hampshire Kids Count Data Book examines key child wellbeing indicators, statewide and by county. Along with providing raw data on children's health and wellness, the Data Book includes key takeaways and policy recommendations to provide a framework for state policy which will support all children and families.

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Key Takeaways & Policy Recommendations

Safety and Wellbeing

Key Takeaways

  • Five percent of children removed from parental care in 2016 were born drug-exposed.
  • The rate of child maltreatment and out-of-home placements varies by county, indicating a need for a statewide system which supports all children.
  • In three years, only 484 children were served by MIECHV, though some were served by other home visiting programs. Nearly 300,000 children live in NH, many of whom can benefit from home visiting.

Policy Recommendations

  • Eliminate restrictions on entry to Medicaid Home Visiting to increase access to home visiting services to all Medicaid-eligible families.
  • Address the changing needs of the child welfare system by adding more DCYF caseworkers and supporting a system of care for children.
  • Support a system of Family Resource Centers that give communities access to services which strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect.

Children’s Health and Wellness

Key Takeaways

  • Children with health insurance are more likely to get the health care they need. Over 25 percent of NH children have access to health care thanks to a public program.
  • In 2016, 7.7 percent of NH births were premature. Home visiting programs can provide support for parents and infants to mitigate the potential negative health outcomes.
  • Twenty-three percent of NH children have used marijuana at least once in the last 30 days, which can have long-term, negative impacts on brain development.

Policy Recommendations

  • Support efforts to codify the Affordable Care Act in New Hampshire law to ensure children continue to have access to quality health care.
  • Invest in evidence-informed substance misuse prevention programs to promote adolescent wellbeing and reduce state costs on substance misuse.
  • Ensure children are protected from the harms of electronic vaping products by including vaping in an existing law to reduce youth access to tobacco products.

Early Childhood and K-12 Education

Key Takeaways

  • High-quality early education helps develop children’s social-emotional skills and self-regulation. Children who participate in high quality early learning do better in school.
  • With a strong and healthy beginning, children can more easily stay on track to perform successfully on standardized tests later in live.
  • Enrollment in public preschool and kindergarten differs drastically among counties, leading to a gap in opportunity among our young children depending on where they live.

Policy Recommendations

  • Ensure all districts can offer public full-day kindergarten by treating kindergarten funding equal to all other grade levels.
  • Invest in a state-funded preschool program which will give more NH children access to early education.
  • Support a Quality Rating Improvement System for child care to give children access to quality early education in child care facilities.

Economic Security

Key Takeaways

  • According to official poverty measure estimates, 11 percent of NH children are living in poverty. This is not the most accurate level of financial need, so we can assume more children are suffering from poverty’s detrimental effects.
  • Nearly 50 percent of those living in rented homes in NH are spending 30 percent or more of their income on housing costs.
  • Growing up in poverty is one of the greatest threats to healthy child development and, therefore, to a healthy future for our state.

Policy Recommendations

  • Ensure full funding of work-related child care so that families, regardless of income level, can access affordable child care and stay in the workforce.
  • Create a statewide paid family and medical leave program which will prevent loss of income when working people must take time off to care for themselves or a family member and help keep children out of poverty.
  • Incentivize investment in building affordable homes by increasing investment in the Affordable Housing Fund.