February 19, 2024

Annual Kids Count data finds Marion County youth continue to struggle with mental health, other areas improved

The data book is available and includes measures of youth wellbeing. - Courtesy of Indiana Youth Institute

The data book is available and includes measures of youth wellbeing.

Courtesy of Indiana Youth Institute

A yearly look at the wellbeing of Hoosier children is out this week, the data also shows how Marion County youth are doing in a number of areas.

The Indiana Kids Count Data Book takes a deep dive into four measures including health, education, economic well-being, family and community. 

The book offers countywide information on numerous factors that influence children. They include a wide range of data that considers things like environment, health insurance, food insecurity and early education.

The data book is a comprehensive tool for organizations, both public and private, to determine how to best help youth. 

“It’s intended to be the start of conversations, the start of programs, perhaps taking a new approach if we need to take a look at where we aren't quite hitting that mark,” Silverman said.

The Indiana Youth Institute presents the report. President and CEO Tami Silverman said a closer look at youth who have considered or planned suicide finds numbers have dipped statewide but risen in Marion County. 

“That's where we need to really be looking at what services are available. How is our provider to population ratio, which we know we have challenges, how might we help the kids that need that support that needs that clinical care and intervention,” Silverman said.

Other measures for Marion County find a drop in the number of children in foster care. Silverman said that local nonprofits, like Foster Success, focused on this population can make an impact.

“We often think of Foster Success being one of those that's really working to help us better understand and respond to the needs of our kids that are considered at risk,” Silverman said.

The rates of child poverty have also dropped in Marion County from 29 percent to 21 percent over the past five years. 

Graduation rates for youth in Marion County rose to 82 percent but still lagged from a statewide average of 89 percent.

The release of the data book coincided with a presentation at the statehouse.

Contact WFYI city government and policy reporter Jill Sheridan at jsheridan@wfyi.org.


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