Louisvillians can now see how their Metro Council district’s are doing in children’s health and well-being.
“Certain issues impact children regardless of where they live,” says Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, the organization has released county-specific report, braking down education, health and economic data to provide a comprehensive snapshot of Louisville children.
An example effecting all children county-wide, says Brooks, is the glaring statistic that shows one in four kids in Louisville at the middle school level (ages 10-13) are obese.
Brooks says the data show a variety of issues that are both individual to the 26 districts, but also show commonalities among the county—high the high obesity rates and literacy issues, for example.
“My guess is that stereotypically folks think that certain areas of town have problems with literacy and other areas of town don’t, Brooks says. “Well, actually what it shows is that literacy is an issue for this whole community.”
Mayor Greg Fischer initiated conversations to support the study and says he hopes it’ll be used by government and community leaders to target specific problems, Brooks says.
“We hope that local leaders as in neighborhood leaders take a look at what these numbers say about what it means to grow up whether that’s in the West End or off Dixie Highway or Preston or in the Highlands or in the East End,” Brooks says.
The report was made possible with a grant from the James Graham Brown Foundation. Kentucky Youth Advocates has released the annual Kids Count County Data Book that breaks down similar information county by county, but Brooks says for larger cities the picture is a little more complex.
To your right is a map of Louisville Metro Council districts. Here's a list of who represents each of the 26 districts.
Homelessness has always been a large issue for Jefferson County and the number of homeless students continues to increase more than 12,000 students.
“We know that homelessness is a condition that is present in every council district,” Brooks says. “It varies in intensity but my guess is that for a lot of folks they think that it's limited to certain areas but what we've discovered is that homelessness for children is pervasive across the county.”
When considering the data, student homelessness can range between 4.1 percent in Council District 16 (Councilman Kelly Downard) to 26.7 percent in Council District 10 (Councilman Jim King). Homelessness has also been found to be related to poor academic achievement and some health related issues, the report says.
Only one district had reading proficiency rates over 75 percent, when considering reading proficiency rates of fourth grade students during the 2011-2012 school year.
“My guess is that stereotypically folks think that certain areas of town have problems with literacy and other areas of town don’t. Well actually what it shows is that literacy is an issue for this whole community,” Brooks says. “We know that kindergarten readiness is an issue for every council district not just certain council districts.”
Another data point that Brooks says is present in every council is low birth weights. At least more than 1 in 20 babies are born at a low birth weight in every council districts, the data shows.
“The greatest cause of low birth weight for babies are pregnant women who smoke. What a great opportunity in every council district, what a great opportunity across Jefferson County for us to make a difference in newborn health by making sure that pregnant women know that if you smoke during pregnancy that’s the impact that could probably happen to that newborn infant,” he says.
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