DALLAS, Nov 10, 2021 — Children’s Health℠, one of the largest and most prestigious pediatric health care providers in the country and the leading pediatric health care system in North Texas, today released its 17th 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.
The biennial report examines four major areas that impact children in Dallas, Collin, Cooke, Denton, Fannin and Grayson counties, highlighting key trends and areas of improvement in each. The four areas include pediatric health, economic security, safety and education.
Significant highlights from the 2021 report show:
- An increased need to strengthen mental and behavioral health care for Texas children
- In 2020, emergency rooms saw a 24% increase in mental health-related visits for children ages 5 to 11 and a 31% increase for older children
- An estimated 133,375 North Texas children suffer from an emotional disturbance or addictive disorder
- Texas students ages 11 to 21 were more than twice as likely to think about or attempt suicide in early days of the pandemic than one year earlier
- More than 38% of Texas high school students felt hopeless or sad every day for two or more weeks at a time
- The number of children without health insurance continues to increase
- Approximately 20% of uninsured children in the United States lived in Texas in 2019
- Texas leads the nation in the number of uninsured children, with nearly 1 million Texas children uninsured in 2019
- Some experts anticipate that the economic hardships of the pandemic are likely to produce even lower rates of insurance coverage when new data is released
- Poverty is a leading indicator of the well-being of children
- Across the six-county region, 17% of children live below the poverty line, including nearly 1 in 4 children in Dallas County
- Texas reported 114,055 homeless students in 2019
- Across North Texas, nearly 500,000 children qualify for free or reduced-price lunch and more than 200,000 are considered food insecure
- More than 300,000 Texas families used federal housing subsidies in 2020 and nearly half of those families included children
- The COVID-19 pandemic has had a detrimental effect on children’s health and well-being
- Medicaid delivered 21% fewer screening services, 9% fewer immunizations and nearly 40% fewer dental services during the first few months of the pandemic
- Some estimates suggest that food insecurity may have tripled during the pandemic
- One recent study found that 26 percent of households experienced a nonfatal injury since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to only 14 percent during a similar period in 2017
“This year’s Beyond ABC report, as always, presents a far-reaching view of the state of pediatric health in our region,” said Chris Durovich, president and CEO of Children’s Health. “Almost two years into one of the most devastating and consequential public health challenges in history, we can say, unequivocally, that the work to better understand and to improve the well-being of our community’s children has never been more important. Our mission to make life better for children compels us to prepare for the promise and uncertainty of the future, and we are privileged to help children and families in North Texas.”
As in previous years, the 2021 Beyond ABC report was developed with input from an advisory board comprised of representatives from key North Texas community organizations whose work influences pediatric health, economic security, safety and education. The research staff at the University of Texas at Dallas Institute for Urban Policy Research identified the most consistent recent and historical data available for each of the six North Texas counties. The advisory board and Children’s Health staff then provided real-world insights, ideas and solutions to provide context around the data in the 2021 report.
“We are honored to be involved in producing the 2021 Beyond ABC report,” said Dr. Timothy M. Bray, director of the Institute for Urban Policy Research at the University of Texas at Dallas. “As we work to build a stronger and healthier community, this data is invaluable to track our progress and enable us to enact real change for North Texas children.”
As the leading pediatric health care system in North Texas, Children’s Health has produced the Beyond ABC report since 1996. Whereas previous versions of the report have been published annually and focused on Dallas County and the Northern Corridor in alternating years, the format was updated in 2015 to feature a single report covering six counties in the Children’s Health service area. Beyond ABC is now published every other year in mid-November.
To download the full report, executive summary or order hard copies, visit www.childrens.com/beyondabc.