Children’s Health Releases Report on the Well-Being of North Texas Children

Children’s Health released the 16th edition of Beyond ABC: Assessing the Well-Being of Children in North Texas, a comprehensive report on the quality of life for children in North Texas.

Beyond ABC: Assessing the Well-Being of Children in North Texas is a biennial report that covers four areas regarding children across six counties: Dallas, Collin, Cooke, Denton, Fannin, and Grayson. The topics and trends they follow are in pediatric health, economic security, safety, and education.

The highlights of their findings show that there is a lot of work to do to make progress for children’s lives, particularly in regard to mental and behavioral health.

  • An increased need for access to mental and behavioral health services
    • An estimated 130,226 North Texas children suffer from an emotional disturbance or addictive disorder
    • There was a 143% increase in Collin County children with a mental health diagnosis served by Medicaid Managed Care compared to 2017.
    • 44% of youth incarcerated in the Texas Juvenile Justice Department system in 2018 had a moderate or severe mental health issue – more than double from three years earlier
  • Higher rates of youth suicide and child mortality
    • Dallas County saw adolescent suicides increase 27% in 2016
    • Boys are four times more likely to die from suicide, although girls are more likely to attempt suicide
    • Child mortality rate rose 29.9% in Collin County and 54.5% in Denton County in 2016
  • A decrease in college-readiness and literacy rates
    • In 2017, 37% of North Texas high school graduates were college-ready – down from 42% in 2016
    • Fewer than half of North Texas third-graders can read at their grade level – presenting potential obstacles with their education moving forward
  • Increased homelessness and poverty prevent children from accessing education and medical care
    • 14.3% of Dallas County children have no health insurance coverage (higher than the statewide rate of 11%)
    • 115,676 Texas students were homeless during the 2016-2017 school year, and LGBTQ youth are twice as likely to be homeless as their peers
    • More than 450,000 North Texas children qualify for free or reduced-price lunch

“After reading this year’s report, one realization was stunningly clear to me – we must radically change how we support the behavioral health of our children,” said Chris Durovich, president and CEO of Children’s Health. “Caring for our community’s youth is a privilege we take seriously, and it has emboldened us to disavow the notion that any problem is too big, too complicated or too widespread. While we appreciate that transformational change will not happen overnight, we are confident that through a sustained effort by many, we can achieve an integrated behavioral health care system that serves every North Texas child.”

To see the full report, click here.

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