Prince George's County Results for Child Well-Being

This scorecard tracks the county-level results and indicators for Prince George's County.

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As part of the Strategic Planning process, “Safety,” specifically juvenile violent and nonviolent offenses, child maltreatment and juvenile delinquency and recidivism, were identified as the top priorities. In addition, one of the six focus areas of the County Executive and Health and Human Services is to have an “Increased Focus on Intervention Services for At Risk Youth,” as the well-being and safety of the County’s youth is paramount in Prince George's County. The Health and Human Services Departments offer need based supportive services that stabilize and strengthen child and family welfare. Several well developed studies indicate that there are severe consequences for children who have experienced abuse and/or neglect, physically, psychologically and behaviorally. Children who experience abuse and neglect are at increased risk for substance abuse, delinquency, teen pregnancy, and low academic achievement.[1] One study shows that being abused or neglected as a child increases the likelihood of arrest as a juvenile by 59% and the likelihood of adult criminal behavior by 28%.[2] Additionally, there is an economic burden resulting from increased costs associated with childhood and adult health care, productivity losses, child welfare costs, criminal justice costs and special education costs.[3]



[1] Kelly BT, Thornberry TP, Smith CA. In the wake of child maltreatment. 1997. Washington (DC): National Institute of Justice

[2] Wisdom C S, Maxfield MG. An update on the “cycle of violence.” Washington (DC): National Institute of Justice; 2001.

[3] Fang X, Brown DS, Florence CS, Mercy JA. The economic burden of child maltreatment in the United States and implications for prevention. Child Abuse Negl. 2012;36(2), 156-165.

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School success is a major influencer and often has a direct impact on whether children develop into healthy, productive and upstanding pillars of the community. A well-developed study conducted in 1988 by Brooks-Gunn, Lee and Schnur concluded that preschool and formal education are gatekeepers, which determine a child’s ability to attend college, training and/or employment. Children who are successful in school are less likely to engage in juvenile crime and/or delinquent behaviors.[1] More recent studies[2] show a direct correlation between poor school performance, economic status, and juvenile crime, which lead to increased rates of delinquency, youth unemployment and overall lower economic growth. The study states that socioeconomic status is a significant part of the equation. It also indicates that children who come from impoverished communities are often faced with overwhelming challenges, resulting in poor school performance.

A study conducted in 2013 by Tim Elmore titled “The Five Greatest Predictors of Student Success” shows a different perspective and a more refined approach of focusing on student success. His research suggests that while socio-economic status is a factor, the highest predictors of student success can be summed up in the following five areas: 1. Getting connected to the right people (mentors and accountability); 2. Possessing adaptability and resilience (children should be taught how to overcome adversity and given appropriate consequences); 3. Developing high emotional intelligence (children now struggle with mental health issues more than in the past which leads to poor school performance and high dropout rates (having appropriate coping mechanisms in place is strongly linked to staying in school, avoiding risky behaviors, improving health, happiness and life success); 4. Targeting a clear outcome (students who have clear goals when they enter school tend to stay engaged, perform better and finish well); and 5. Making good decisions (students who make good choices in and out of class tend to be more successful. These are decisions that help establish their moral compass, form good study habits and influence how they spend leisure time).[3]

Bullying is a serious problem for all children involved. Kids who are bullied are more likely to feel bad about themselves and be depressed. They may fear or lose interest in going to school. Sometimes they take extreme measures, which can lead to tragic results. They may carry weapons, resort to violence, or try to harm themselves. Kids who bully others are more likely to drop out of school, have drug and alcohol problems, and violate laws.[4]



[1] Brooks-Gunn, Lee and Schnur, 1988.

[2] Blair et al 2008

[3] Elmore, 2013. The Five Greatest Predictors of Student Success. http://growingleaders.com/blog/student-success/

[4] Prince George's County Network of Care for Behavioral Health. http://princegeorges.md.networkofcare.org/mh/index.aspx

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Family stability is an important factor in a child’s development as well as health and social well-being. Stable housing not only impacts how a child develops emotionally, but also influences their overall ability to develop to their full potential and live healthier lives. In a well-developed study conducted in 1988 by Brooks-Gunn, Lee and Schnur, authors concluded that having access to resources such as medical, education, food and the ability to form secure relationships with adults are all major contributors that can be beneficial to a child in the long term. Children who are raised in unstable homes are more likely to demonstrate negative behaviors and engage in other high risk activity such as drug use, juvenile crime and truancy.

In a national study titled “The Effect of Poverty on Child Development and Educational Outcomes” conducted in 2000 by Engle and Black states that children who reside in impoverished homes are faced with chronic stress, which interferes with successful adjustment to developmental tasks including school achievement. The study further suggests that school readiness is critical to academic achievement later in life.

In Prince George's County, there are 863,420 residents with an average household size of 2.52. Of these homes, 12,259 are residing in federally assisted units. There are 297,409 rental homes currently occupied with 14, 870 families living below the poverty limit. It is reported that children reside in 39.2% of these units, who are directly impacted by these conditions. It should also be noted that Prince George’s County holds the largest number of federally assisted housing communities in the state of Maryland.
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