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Report Card On Health Of San Diego Children And Families

Evening Edition

Above: Sandra McBrayer, CEO of The Children's Initiative, talks to "Evening Edition" about a report card on how San Diego kids and families are doing.

Aired 3/1/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUEST

Sandra McBrayer, CEO The Children's Initiative

Transcript

— A new report card on the welfare of children and families across the county showed teen pregnancy, obesity and crime among juveniles has dropped, but poverty and the number of children not properly immunized has gone up.

The report, from the nonprofit agency The Children’s Initiative comes out every two years. Sandra McBrayer, the agency’s CEO, spoke with KPBS about its findings.

She said the number of county teenagers having babies has decreased by 33 percent over the past 10 years, the county’s childhood obesity rate is dropping, juvenile crime in the county is going down and school achievement is up.

These improvements have come, she said, by targeting problems. For example, calculating which zip codes have the most fast food restaurants and the least parks and recreation areas.

McBrayer also said by partnering with the county's health program, the San Diego Adolescent Pregnancy and Parenting Program, or SANDAPP, has been able to work with a broader group of county teenagers.

“They do intensive case management, see the girls every day, get them re-enrolled in school,” she said. “It’s changing the community norm for many young women.”

One of the biggest areas of concern highlighted in the report is the declining immunization rate. For the first time, the county fell below the national objective, McBrayer said.

Some of the possible reasons for this drop are decreased availability of vaccines, poor families who are unable to have “well baby checks” with physicians and an increase in vaccine waivers, she said.

“That’s a campaign of education,” McBrayer said about the vaccine waivers. “There were many reports years ago that have now proved false that said immunization was tied to certain diseases. Internationally and nationally that has proven not to be true, we’ve got to get that information everywhere.”

McBrayer said her organization will use the report and all of its data to talk to community groups, elected officials, task forces and committees and let them know about their highest areas of need.

“So that you’re spending your time at the greatest need, not necessarily on what someone happened to mention to you,” she said.

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