Policymaker Accountability: U.S. Focus

The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s “KIDS COUNT Data Book” analyzes national trends in overall child well-being and ranks states according to four domains: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. The report, published annually since 1990, uses a variety of sources, including data from governmental agencies, reports from foundations and nonprofits, and other studies.

Child Welfare Information Gateway’s National Technical Assistance and Evaluation Center for Systems of Care offers the resource “A Closer Look: Accountability” (2010), which defines accountability and discusses challenges and strategies for implementing accountability in the context of the child welfare system.

Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, a clearinghouse established by executive order in 1997, annually issues its report “America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being.” It presents 41 key indicators on important aspects of children’s lives, grouped in seven categories: family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health. The data are culled from federal agencies and analyzed with input from foundations, academic researchers, and state and local service providers.

First Focus Campaign for Children’s “Champions for Children 2017” tallies up actions that members of Congress take related to making children a top priority, presenting a list of 40 U.S. Senators and 80 members of the House who are Champions and Defenders for children.

Forum for Youth Investment’s “2017 State Policy Survey: Child and Youth Policy Coordinating Bodies in the U.S.” (Elizabeth Gaines) provides the nation’s only survey of state child and youth policy coordinating bodies (i.e., children’s cabinets, commissions, P-20 councils, and early childhood advisory councils). The report reviews their decisions, lessons, and experiences in hopes these can help inform other state leaders and coordinating bodies.

National Conference of State Legislatures’ “Children’s Ombudsman Offices/Office of the Child Advocate” reviews what children’s ombudsman offices are, the functions they typically provide, and the various types that exist. It also provides a state-by-state summary of ombudsman services.

Urban Institute’s “Kids’ Share 2018: Report on Federal Expenditures on Children Through 2017 and Future Projections” (2018) is the 12th edition of an annual report that analyzes federal spending on children from 1960 until the present. These reports also project the proportion of federal expenditures spent on children in the future.