Tuesday, May 5, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Good news, bad news on Yolo County’s children

Courtney Getter, a student at Da Vinci High School, reads with students in May at the Davis Children's Center, including from left, Chaewon Lee, Shawwal Dikbiyik, Isabella Heredia and Jeffrey Wang. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise file photo

By
From page A8 | October 23, 2012 |

Children in Yolo County are more likely to be breastfed as newborns, enrolled in preschool as 3- and 4-year-olds and receive regular health care than children in other counties throughout the state, according to a new report.

But they are also less likely to see a dentist, to participate in free and reduced-price breakfast programs at school and to be read to every day.

All in all, the 50,000 children living in Yolo County were ranked in the top third on eight indicators of childhood well-being, the bottom third on eight more and in the middle on 12, according to “The California County Scorecard of Children’s Well-Being,” a report released last week by the advocacy group Children Now.

Using data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, the state Department of Education, the California Health Interview Survey and the California Healthy Kids Survey, Children Now looked at 28 key indicators of childhood well-being, ranging from prenatal care to college readiness, healthcare to access to healthy food.

Counties were then ranked on each individual indicator. Perhaps not surprisingly, children in wealthier, urban counties scored significantly higher across the board than their counterparts in more rural and low-income areas, with Marin and Orange counties coming out on top. Even within counties, there were significant disparities along racial lines.

For Yolo, considered a middle-income urban county, children were generally in the middle of the pack. But there were several areas where they were found to be worse off than two years ago:

* The percentage of students who are ready or conditionally ready for college-level math courses was down 24 percent to 50 percent. The average among all counties was 58 percent.

* The number of eligible students who eat free or reduced-price breakfast during the school year dropped 7 percent to 23 percent, among the lowest in the state.

* The number of eligible students who eat free or reduced-price meals during the summer dropped 67 percent, down to just 11 percent of eligible Yolo County students.

The latter two figures have been ongoing concerns to many in the county and were among the issues discussed Friday at the Yolo Food Connect Summit held at UC Davis. Yolo Food Connect is a countywide collaborative effort aimed at dealing with hunger and food insecurity and Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor said last week that increasing participation in school breakfast and lunch programs will be an ongoing focus of the group.

Others are already making headway locally. Realizing that many low-income children simply can’t get to school early enough to take advantage of the breakfast program, Montgomery Elementary School in Davis, for example, instituted a “second breakfast” program. Students who didn’t arrive in time for the first breakfast can still fill their stomachs during morning recess thanks to the second offering.

Montgomery has the highest percentage of children eligible for free and reduced-price breakfasts among Davis elementary schools — a percentage close to the county average, in fact.

According to First 5 Yolo, 50 percent of kindergartners in Yolo County are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches and 15 percent are living in poverty. Hunger remains a significant factor in the lives of many of them.

For that reason, First 5 recently announced a new program that will provide up to 10,000 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables per month for families with children ages 0-5 in Winters, Esparto, Knights Landing, Yolo and Clarksburg.

The First 5 grant of $65,000 per year for three years will allow the Food Bank of Yolo County to distribute the food throughout the county.

The Food Bank also runs a program that involves setting up a weekly “kids farmers market” during school hours at some Yolo County elementary schools with large low-income student populations. Children are given pretend money to shop with and are able to take home up to 10 pounds of fresh produce each week.

Ongoing efforts by both First 5 and the Food Bank may be why Yolo County children are doing significantly better in one indicator of childhood well-being: access to fresh food. The number of children who live near grocery stores, produce stands or farmers markets was up 131 percent last year, to 77 percent overall. That is about average for counties throughout the state.

“Access to quality food and good nutrition is the number one priority for Spanish-speaking parents in Yolo County,” said First 5 Yolo’s executive director Julie Gallelo. “It was the number two concern for all 450 parents we surveyed.”

Also of concern to parents, she said, was the rate of obesity among their children. That, too, showed improvement in the 2012 scorecard, which found the number of children in Yolo County in a healthy weight zone had increased 17 percent to 71 percent overall, just above the statewide average of 69 percent.

In other good news on the Children Now scorecard, researchers found an increase in the number of Yolo County women receiving prenatal care — up 12 percent to 82 percent — and adolescents not at risk for depression — up 7 percent to 73 percent.

There are eight indicators total where Yolo County ranks among the top third of counties statewide:

* Newborns who are exclusively breastfed while in the hospital (80 percent compared to the statewide average of 57 percent).

* Children ages 0-3 who do not experience recurring neglect or abuse (98 percent compared to the statewide average of 93 percent).

* Three- and 4-year-olds who attend preschool (59 percent compared to the statewide average of 50 percent).

* Classrooms with high-speed Internet access (99 percent compared to the statewide average of 92 percent).

* Children who feel connected to their schools (48 percent compared to the statewide average of 44 percent).

* Expulsions that are limited to serious offenses (96 percent compared to the statewide average of 92 percent).

* Children who have a usual source of health care (94 percent compared to the statewide average of 92 percent).

Yolo County ranked in the middle of the pack on a number of education-related indicators, but showed improvement on most of them.

* The number of third-graders who read at grade level was up 19 percent to 43 percent overall.

* The number of seventh-graders who meet or exceed state standards on math was up 32 percent to 49 percent overall.

* The number of high school seniors who graduate on time was up 5 percent to 81 percent.

However, there was significant disparity among ethnic groups.

Just 25 percent of Latino third-graders in Yolo County read at grade level (compared to 58 percent of white third-graders); only 35 percent of Latino seventh-graders meet or exceed state standards in math (compared to 63 percent of white seventh-graders); and only 32 percent of Latinos are ready or conditionally ready for college-level math (compared to 58 percent of white students).

In another education-related measure of well-being, the report found 39 percent of Latino students felt connected to their schools, compared to 58 percent of white students.

The ongoing racial disparities, as well as those between urban and rural counties, are telling, said Ted Lempert, president of Children Now.

“The scorecard’s holistic, county-by-county view of children’s well-being is unique and critical,” he said. “It highlights where California’s policymakers need to do a better job of crafting solutions that meet all kids’ needs, whether they live in a low-income rural county or urban center, are African American or Latino. Our public policies should work equally well for all children, but this shows they are not.”

In fact, he noted, even in wealthy Marin County, where an average of 73 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds attend preschool, the racial disparity is significant: 90 percent of white children attend preschool, compared to 32 percent of Latino children.

And while Yolo County is in the top third of the state when it comes to sending children to preschool, there are eight indicators of childhood well-being that put Yolo in the bottom third:

* The percentage of young children who are read to every day (66 percent).

* Elementary and middle-school children who are supervised by an adult after school (48 percent).

* Students who are ready or conditionally ready for college level math (50 percent).

* High school science classes that are taught by a “highly qualified teacher” (89 percent).

* Suspensions that are limited to serious offenses (49 percent).

* Eligible students who eat free or reduced-price breakfasts during the school year (23 percent).

* Schools that have a health center (none).

* Children who visited a dentist in the last year (86 percent).

The entire scorecard is available to the public online by visiting http://scorecard.childrennow.org/2012.

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at [email protected] or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy

Comments

comments

Anne Ternus-Bellamy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    Sexual assault awareness campaign recognizes teens

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Mother, daughters killed in crash caused by wrong-way driver

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
     
    A blessing of the bikes

    By Fred Gladdis | From Page: A2

     
    New comic allows readers to ‘Carpe Diem’!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Fire damages Woodland apartment

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Watering bans, conservation mandates on tap for regulators

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Learn to use walking poles effectively

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

     
    Capitol drive collects essentials for young lives

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Sunrise Rotarians honor student role models

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

     
    Vet Med Large Animal Clinic has a new director

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B3

    Party celebrates release of Lescroart’s new novel

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

     
    Grace Valley hosts open house

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B3

    Indoor Fun Fly comes to Woodland

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

     
    Davis families take a spin at the Loopalooza

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    Pets of the week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    Speakers cancel for health reasons

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Davis Municipal Fiber will give people a choice

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Independent study enrollment underway

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Faulkner featured at Poetry Night on Thursday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Sunset Rotary hosts Thursday-afternoon bingo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Winters agri-tour visits Four Winds Nursery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Fresh cherries at Sutter market

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    Special KDRT broadcast celebrates Grateful Dead’s 50 years

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

    Dance, dance, dance for a great cause

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A10

     
    Information offered on city tax refund program

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

    Monthly tour set at Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10 | Gallery

     
    Tour de Cluck participants can get here by train

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    .

    Forum

    Weeds pose a threat to pets

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Is your bike waiting for you?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Tips to reduce student stress

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    John Cole cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

    Think long and hard about our town’s future

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

     
    Whom will our council represent?

    By Michelle Millet | From Page: B4

    New rule: No dough, no art

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Ready to cut her off

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    .

    Sports

     
    Visiting Eagles edge Blue Devils

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DHS celebrates Senior Day with a fun victory

    By Chris Saur | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Majors roundup: Thompson, D’Angelo lead Brew Crew rally

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    UCD roundup: Aggies baseballers fall in 13 innings

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    From Bach to rock, Regal Beezers will entertain

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    Student filmmakers showcased at UCD Festival

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

    Stellar acting brings home Capital Stage’s dark comedy

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    Student choreographers, dancers stage festival at UC Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Emma Sallie Wing Hale

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Robert Simpson Loomis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Tuesday, May 5, 2015 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: B5

     
    Comics: Tuesday, May 5, 2015 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B7