Calvert County Results for Child Well-Being

This scorecard tracks the county-level results and indicators for Calvert County.

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Why Is This Important?

Calvert County Family Network is committed to achieving a community where all children and youth thrive. The early years are a critical window for healthy development, starting in the womb. The most important influence on a baby's outcome is its mothers health.

Babies born to teen mothers are more likely to be preterm and/or low birth weight. Research shows teen parenthood is linked to greater welfare dependence, poorer long-term educational outcomes, and family instability.

The infant mortality rate is a critical indicator in the overall health and welfare of a community, linked to the quality and accessibility of prenatal and birth care. The leading causes of death among infants are birth defects, pre-term delivery, low birth weight, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and maternal complications during pregnancy.

Babies born with low birth weight are more likely than babies of normal weight to have health problems and require specialized medical care in the neonatal intensive care unit. Low birth weight is typically caused by premature birth and fetal growth restriction, both of which are influenced by a mother's health and genetics. To prevent low birth weight, the most important things an expectant mother can do are seek prenatal care, take prenatal vitamins, and avoid use of alcohol, cigarettes and drugs.

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  • small percentage of the county population without health insurance, resulting in lack of preventative care
  • lack of specialized care, especially for behavioral health needs, resulting in either commuting for services at a higher expense to families
  • recreation resources are limited, especially for families in poverty and lacking transportation
  • need more treatment, prevention and support for parents with substance use disorders
  • as a result of stigma, mental health problems or trauma's were not adequately addressed in childhood
  • use of opiates, starting with access to family's members prescription drugs
Strategies to improve these indicators
  • expanded recreation services
  • increase access to transportation for medical and/or recreation with ride sharing or transportation vouchers
  • low cost psychiatric services for underinsured
  • mental health awareness & advocacy
  • reducing access to prescription opiates
Why Is This Important?

In order to thrive, youth need to be physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy and addiction free, and to be raised in families where those conditions exist as well. Youth who possess this kind of vibrant health will be able to achieve their potential and live happy productive lives.

To stay healthy, children require regular checkups, dental and vision care, and medical attention for illness and injury. Children with health insurance are more likely to have better health throughout their childhood and adolescence. They are more likely to receive required immunizations, fall ill less frequently, obtain necessary treatment when they do get sick, and perform better at school. Having health insurance lowers barriers to accessing care, which is likely to prevent the development of more serious illnesses.

The immunization of young children is a positive predictor of avoidance of illness, death, disability, or developmental delay associated with immunization-preventable diseases.Additionally, childhood immunization is an important step in maintaining high vaccination levels within the population, which prevent outbreaks of such diseases.

Childhood injuries requiring inpatient hospitalization present risks of long-term illness and disability. Injuries may be the result of unintentional or intentional events. Most unintentional injuries are related to motor vehicles, falls, fires and burns, poisonings, choking and suffocation, and drowning. Intentional injuries include assaults and self-inflicted injuries.

Childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term health impacts. Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and are more likely than their normal weight peers to be teased and stigmatized which can lead to poor self-esteem. Moreover, obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

Healthy behavior patterns formed in adolescence play a crucial role in health throughout life. Use of substances, whether it be alcohol, tobacco or drugs, decreases ability to make good choices, engage in learning, develop age-appropriate maturity levels, and remain disease-free. The increase in the use of opiate drugs, whether prescription or heroin, endangers the life of the users, especially teens who do not have knowledge of lethality or the ability to gauge risk.

Child deaths due to homicide, suicide, and unintentional injury are all deemed potentially
preventable, and responsive to interventions.

Data Discussion
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Story Behind the Curve

Minor infractions by juveniles have decreased, indicating a more engaged and productive general juvenile population. Moreover, in FY15 Calvert County’s Department of Juvenile Services felt the impact of Maryland Public School’s new regulations that require local school systems to adopt policies that reduce long-term out-of-school suspensions and expulsions, imposing in-school asset based interventions. However, there is a worrisome trend of a smaller number of juveniles involved in serious felony offenses, which points to a need to determine what factors, such as family dynamics, school participation, and behavioral health services are impacting the behavior.

Strategies to improve these indicators
Why Is This Important?

Crime has a negative impact on communities and childhood development. Safe communities are critical to reducing injuries, death and trauma in children and youth.

Safety starts in the home. Child abuse and neglect can result in mild to severe physical injuries, and in some instances, death. Victims of child abuse and neglect are also susceptible to possible attachment disorders, mental health issues, developmental delays, educational challenges, and behavioral problems. Identifying families and children at risk for abuse or neglect, addressing these risk areas, and ensuring safety for children are essential to protecting children from harm.

Juvenile delinquency has potentially high stakes for both individuals and society as a whole. Delinquency is linked to higher crime rates in adulthood and other negative outcomes. One estimate suggests that between 50 and 75 percent of adolescents who have spent time in juvenile detention centers are incarcerated later in life.

Measuring recidivism is the primary indicator of success for criminal and juvenile justice systems. While other measures of youth development are important, the primary mission of juvenile justice is to reduce delinquency, which is best captured by measuring recidivism.

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Data Discussion
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Data Discussion
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Story Behind the Curve

In CCFN's 2016 Needs Assessment of the Governor’s Goal Areas, surveys and a series of focus groups were conducted with disconnected youth and parents in the community and at the Calvert County Detention Center and the following themes emerged related to employment/education:

  • Lack of education and job training opportunities
  • Need for more reentry services
  • Mental health and substance use treatment - cost and restrictions prior to detention; and need for more while in detention
  • Challenges securing adequate stable housing with criminal record and/or no savings
  • Lack of connection with children
Strategies to improve these indicators

In CCFN's 2016 Needs Assessment of the Governor’s Goal Areas, vendor IMPAQ, Inc. made the following recommendations for strategies to address disconnected youth, including the incarcerated population:

  • streamline data assessment processes for disconnected youth and currently or formerly incarcerated individuals and their families
  • cross-county collaboration through the development of a Tri-County Youth Advisory Board
  • a strategic planning process to address key stakeholders around the impacts of incarceration
  • exploration of potential policy options and solutions for a lack of specialized services; barriers to youth employment; lack of affordable housing and transportation; and school-based interventions for at-risk youth prior to disconnection.
Why Is This Important?

Disconnected youth are young people ages 16 to 24 who are neither working nor in school. According to the most recent Measure of America report, there are 5.8 million, or one in every seven, American young people in this age group who are not connected to either of these anchor institutions.

Emphasis is placed upon this group because the years between the late teens and the mid-twenties are believed to be a critical period during which young people form adult identities and move toward independence. The effects of youth disconnection—limited education, social exclusion, lack of work experience, and fewer opportunities to develop mentors and valuable work connections—can have long-term consequences that snowball across the life course, eventually influencing everything from earnings and self-sufficiency to physical and mental health and marital prospects. There has been much discussion on how to reach these young people and connect them with broader social institutions in order to prevent these negative consequences.

The economic impact of youth disconnection has also been examined. According to the Measure of America report, the average disconnected youth costs $37,450 a year in government services.

Data Discussion

More than 1 in 10 youth in Maryland is disconnected, making it a statewide issue.

For Calvert County, there were a total of 870 youth in 2015, which represents 8.2% of the total county youth population, below the Maryland and National percentages. Calvert County is ranked 21st statewide for percent of youth population that is disconnected.

According to the 2014 Documented Decisions report for Calvert County in the Maryland State Report Card, the majority of Calvert County graduates reported that they plan to seek some level of postsecondary education after graduation. 17.2% reported immediate employment and 5% reported no response.

In Calvert County, youth have opportunities for job mentoring through the Career and Technology Academy. Calvert County’s Job Center prepares youth ages 14 to 21 for employment and/or post-secondary education through strong linkages between academic and occupational learning. Additional supported employment programs are available through local agencies that serve individuals with disabilities.

In 2015, College of Southern Maryland lost their program funding for the Juvenile Offenders Building Skills (JOBS) program for young adults, ages 18 to 21, with prior juvenile justice system involvement. The program provided each student with 500 hours of trade instruction in the classroom with mentoring, soft skills training, and assistance with job placement. Despite the short term successes of the program, the program participants had challenges that were difficult to overcome - learning disabilities, reading on a 3rd grade level, habitual substance use and social skills deficiencies.

According to the Calvert County Detention Center’s (CCDC) Classification Supervisor, Jay Haines, the median age of inmates is 35 years, with nearly a quarter of the population in the 18 to 24 age range. Additionally, Calvert County's increasing substance use is reflected in the CCDC’s inmate population. In a review of the CCDC’s quarterly reports from the past year, their therapist, Ann Ueno reported an estimated 42% of inmates with a mental health diagnosis, and of that population 93% with a co-occurring (substance use) disorder. The average recidivism rate is 42% with the majority of the estimated 3000 inmates annually returning to Calvert County communities

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Why Is This Important?

Psychological research has demonstrated that living in poverty has wide ranging negative effects on children’s physical and mental health and wellbeing. Poverty is linked with negative conditions such as substandard housing, homelessness, inadequate nutrition and food insecurity, subpar child care,and lack of access to health care which adversely impact children. Poorer children and teens are at greater risk for negative outcomes such as poor academic achievement, school dropout, abuse and neglect, behavioral and socio-emotional problems, physical health problems, and developmental delays. These effects are compounded by the barriers children and their families encounter when trying to access physical and mental health care.

  • Homeless children are sick four times as often as middle class children and have high rates of acute and chronic illnesses. In addition, they suffer from emotional or behavioral problems that interfere with learning at almost three times the rate of other children.
  • Availability of adequate healthy food is critical to a child’s physical and emotional development as well as their ability to achieve academic success.
  • Children are sometimes placed Out of Home (OOH) to ensure the stability of a child or youth, however it comes at high economic costs and can contribute to further breakdown within the family. The focus statewide and nationally is a more community-based and family-centered approach to helping children, with family preservation and reunification as an important goal.
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