Published Date: January 18, 2024

Summary: The California Children’s Report Card grades California on its ability to support better outcomes for kids, from prenatal to age 26. Each letter grade — in areas such as health, education, family supports, child welfare, and cross-sector issues — is based on the state’s progress (or lack thereof) on passing and implementing state-level policies and making investments in the supports and services needed for all kids to reach their full potential. California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) research on asthma, oral health, and child development referrals is included in the report.

Findings: California leaders have increased the percentage of children enrolled in health insurance (graded A-) and made paid family leave available for most workers (B-). They have also invested in free school meals (B-), committed to universal transitional kindergarten (B+), and significantly cut school suspensions among students of color. However, California continues to trail far behind other states on a number of important indicators of child well-being: health care access and accountability, supporting mental health, and decriminalization of youth (all graded D+); early intervention and special education, STEM education, preventive screenings, birthing health, connections with adults on campus, transition to adults (all D); and preventing substance abuse, and support for unaccompanied homeless youth (both D-).

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