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California Essentials for Childhood Initiative (CA)

The California Essentials for Childhood Initiative uses a public health and collective impact approach to align and enhance collaborative efforts to promote safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for children, youth and families through systems, policy and social norms change.

A New Suite of Data on Safeguards for Youth


Safeguards for Youth is a compilation of the latest data on promoting California children’s health and well-being. The data describe protective factors and supportive services, both of which are critical to building a solid foundation for life and addressing the effects of childhood adversity. Protective factors highlight the importance of preventive health care, a strong start in education, and a nurturing school community. Supportive services address adverse experiences such as health challenges, abuse, and family poverty. These data stress the urgency for advocacy and policy change to safeguard California’s future generations.

Explore these safeguards, identify disparities in your community, and take action. Most data are available by county, city, school district, or legislative district. Many indicators are also available by demographic groups. These data come from fifteen reputable sources including the California Department of Education, California Department of Health Care Services, National Survey of Children’s Health, and California Healthy Kids Survey.

Key findings about California children:

Protective Factors

  • Preventive Health Care: Less than half of children, 43%, received coordinated, ongoing, and comprehensive care within a medical home in 2016-2017.
  • Strong Start in Education: About 3% of licensed child care centers offered evening, weekend, or overnight care in 2017.
  • Nurturing School Community: About 38% of 7th graders and 27% of 9th graders reported having a high degree of caring relationships with adults at school in 2015-2017.

Supportive Services

  • Support for Health Challenges: Among children ages 0-17 who were hospitalized in 2017, the largest proportion of discharges, 14%, were for mental health issues.
  • Services to Address Abuse: Over 59,000 children ages 0-20 were in foster care in 2018.
  • Programs for Families in Poverty: The child poverty rate would have been 14% higher in 2014-2016 without social safety net programs.

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