Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Final Report - Volume One. 3.2 Characteristics of Kentucky's Children and Families

12/01/2002

This section provides demographic statistics on Kentucky's children and families. Child welfare statistics are presented for Jefferson County (Louisville), which was the focus of the family preservation study in Kentucky.

There are approximately 1,000,000 children under age 18 in Kentucky, with the majority being white (89 percent), and nearly two-thirds under twelve years old (Table 3-1).

Table 3-1
Age and Race Distribution of Children in Kentucky
Total number of children under age 18 in 1997 961,200
Age Percent (%)
0-5 years old 32
6-11 years old 32
12-14 years old 18
15-17 years old 18
Race/Ethnicity 1997
White 89
African American 9
Hispanic 1
Other 1

Indicators of child health, education, and social and economic welfare in Kentucky as compared to the nation are presented in Table 3-2. Data have been abstracted from the Kids Count Data Book, published by Annie E. Casey Foundation. With respect to most indicators, Kentucky's families and children are similar to the national average. The Casey Foundation developed a family risk index based on the following indicators: 1) number of children who are not living with two parents; 2) households in which the head of household did not have a high school degree; 3) family income below poverty level; 4) parents did not have steady employment; 5) the family was receiving welfare; and 6) no health insurance for the children. Using the Casey risk calculation, in Kentucky, 17 percent of the children are considered at risk as compared to 14 percent of children in the nation.

Table 3-2
Indicators of Children and Family Health, Education, Social and Economic
Welfare in Kentucky as Compared to Nation
  Kentucky Nation
Health:
Percent low birth weight babies (1996) 7.9% 7.4%
Infant mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 live births, 1996) 7.5 7.3
Percent of 2 year olds immunized (1997) 81.0% 78.0%
Percent of children without health insurance (1996) 14.0% 14.0%
Percent of children covered by Medicaid or other public-sector health insurance (1996) 31.0% 25.0%
Child death rate (deaths per 100,000 ages 1-14 in 1996) 27.0 26.0
Teen violent death rates (deaths per 100,000 ages 15-19 in 1996) 73.0 62.0
Teen birth rate (Births per 1,000 15-17 females in 1996) 37.0 34.0
Education:
Percent of teens who are high school dropouts (1998) 14.0% 10.0%
Percent of 4th grade student scoring below basic reading level (1998) 37.0% 39.0%
Percent of 8th grade students scoring below basic math reading level (1998) 26.0% 28.0%
Welfare, Social, and Economic
Median income of families with children (1996) $33,900 $39,700
Percent of children in poverty (1996) 25.0% 20.0%
Percent of children in extreme poverty (1996) 16.0% 9.0%
Percent of children living with parents who do not have full time employment (1996) 33.0% 30.0%
Percent of families with children headed by a single parent (1996) 25.0% 27.0%
Source: Kids Count Data Book, published by Annie E. Casey Foundation, 1999.

Child Welfare Statistics for Louisville. To provide background for the findings from the evaluation, an overview of the number of child abuse and neglect reports and the percentage of substantiations for four years prior to the study and the first year of the study are presented (Table 3-3). For the calendar years 1992-1994, the number of children for whom there were abuse and neglect reports remained fairly stable, around 10,000. An increase of about 2,000 was seen in 1995. In 1996 there were 12,118 children reported and 49 percent substantiated, similar to the number of children reported in 1995. In 1998, the year the study ended, there were 11,797 children reported and 44 percent of those children substantiated.

Across all five years, approximately 50 percent of the children reported were substantiated victims. The percentage of cases substantiated by age remained fairly constant over the years, with children over ten having a slightly higher rate of substantiation than children under 5 years old. African American children had a consistently higher rate of substantiation than white children.

Substitute care placements in Louisville, Kentucky for the year prior to the study (1995) and the first full year of data collection (1997) are presented below (Table 3-4). There were a greater number of children in care at the beginning of 1997 than 1995. This may reflect the increase in abuse and neglect cases in 1995 and 1996. However, there was a definite decrease in the number of new entrants and an increase in the number of discharges in 1997.

Table 3-3
Number of Children with Child Abuse and Neglect Reports,
and Percent Substantiated by Age and Race, Jefferson County, Kentucky
  1992 1993 1994 1995
Number
Reported
Percentage
Substantiated (%)
Number
Reported
Percentage
Substantiated (%)
Number
Reported
Percentage
Substantiated (%)
Number
Reported
Percentage
Substantiated (%)
Age:
Total all ages 10,170 48 9,940 51 10,660 50 12,621 48
0-5 Years Old 4,857 42 4,526 47 4,697 46 5,810 44
6-10 Years Old 2,807 50 2,623 56 2,912 47 3,606 51
11-15 Years Old 2,287 52 2,286 56 2,477 54 2,576 54
16-17 Years Old 536 50 505 58 574 49 629 52
Race:
White 6,216 45 5,944 54 6,127 47 7,213 53
Hispanic 17 47 31 46 44 59 26 73
African American 3,534 53 3,556 66 4,082 56 4,785 61
Asian 44 45 51 55 34 47 51 31
American Indian 0 -- 2 100 4 54 5 0
Bi-racial 342 48 347 65 349 25 508 61
Table 3-4
Children served in Substitute care in FY 1995 and FY 1997 In Louisville, Kentucky
  1995 1997
Children in care at beginning of year 1534 1774
New entrants 943 591
Discharge 885 1458
Total served 2477 2365
Includes children in foster homes, group homes, treatment facilities, and with relative foster parents.

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