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What If There Was a City Official Whose Only Job Was to Make Philly Better for Kids?


The case for a children’s czar in Philadelphia.

This summer, the Scattergood Foundation — a behavioral health nonprofit — partnered with data analytics firm Azavea to produce a report on the well-being of children in Philadelphia. The project used a raft of public data to map risk factors that affect the city’s kids — exposure to shootings, family poverty, and educational attainment, for example — as well as the quality of local “assets” that help mitigate those risk factors, like schools, rec centers and food access.

The purpose wasn’t just to show a correlation between these factors (which seems to exist: There’s as much as a 20-year difference in life expectancy between Council districts). The researchers also hoped to “present the information in a way that can guide decision making.” The report has garnered interest from city and state officials and foundation heads, says Samantha Matlin, Scattergood’s vice president of evaluation and community impact. And yet at this point, the specifics of whose decisions the info will inform are still up in the air. Which raises a question: Who actually owns the job of moving the needle on quality of life for Philly kids?

To read the full article by Christine Speer Lejeune, click here.

To access the Place Matters report by the Scattergood Foundation and Azavea, click here

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