DALLAS, Nov 14, 2023 — New data from Children’s Health℠, a leading pediatric health care provider, reveals a surge in childhood anxiety driven by the ongoing impact of the digital news cycle, COVID-19, gun violence, global events, and the potential harms of social media.
Today, Children’s Health releases the 18th edition of ‘Beyond ABC: Assessing Children’s Well-Being in North Texas’. This biennial report delves into key factors affecting children in Dallas, Collin, Cooke, Denton, Fannin, Grayson, and Tarrant counties. It provides crucial insights into pediatric health, economic security, safety, and education, offering a comprehensive overview of children’s quality of life. In a rapidly growing Texas, the report highlights both strides and remaining challenges that demand collective community effort.
The 2023 Beyond ABC Report identifies mental illness as the leading cause of disability among children. In 2021, approximately 22% of middle and high school students nationwide contemplated suicide. Mental health challenges also elevate risks of substance abuse, STIs, HIV, and teenage pregnancy. The report underscores the urgent need to enhance mental and behavioral healthcare for Texas children and adolescents.
Additional significant recommendations from the report include:
- Improve health coverage for uninsured Texas children and families
- The percentage of Texas children without health insurance (12.7%) is more than double the national average (5.4%)
- Increase access to affordable housing throughout North Texas
- In 2023, North Texas counties recorded 17,445 children and youth without permanent residences – the highest number recorded and a 32.6% surge compared to 2017
- Combat substance use and abuse in children and youth
- Nearly 182,000 Texas children are estimated to have a substance abuse problem, yet only 5% receive treatment through public resources and programs
- Education prepares students for success later in life, whether from high school to college, into the military or directly into the workforce.
- More than half of North Texas third graders demonstrated reading capabilities below that grade level in 2022 (a child’s ability to read at grade level by third grade is the single greatest predictor of future success in school)
“The Children’s Health Beyond ABC report seeks to identify and to better understand the complex factors that impact the health and welfare of our children today,” remarked Chris Durovich, President and CEO of Children’s Health. “The challenges confronting children and their loved ones are real, but they are surmountable and are achievable. Through this report, we hope to spark a dialogue that will lead to solutions to improve the health and well-being of children today and for generations to come.”
The Beyond ABC report was launched today at the Beyond ABC Symposium, an event to convene leaders in health care, education and the community to address children’s mental health and spark dialogue among key stakeholders to affect resource allocation and policy and program changes. Children’s Health was joined by Nadine Burke Harris, MD, former California Surgeon General and expert in child and adolescent well-being, who shared valuable insights on optimizing mental health care.
The report is a joint effort with a North Texas community advisory board, including representatives from prominent organizations influencing pediatric health, economic security, safety, and education. This collaboration, along with the University of Texas at Dallas Institute for Urban Policy Research, combines data analysis and real-world insights to offer comprehensive context in the report.
“We are continuously honored to play a role in producing the Beyond ABC report every other year,” said Timothy Bray, director of the Institute for Urban Policy Research at University of Texas Dallas. “As we collaborate with Children’s Health to create a healthier, safer community for the children of North Texas, this data allows us to track our progress year over year and enables the community to create meaningful change in North Texas.”
To learn more and download the full report, and executive summary or order copies, visit www.childrens.com/beyondabc.
About Children’s Health℠
Children’s Health℠ is the leading pediatric healthcare system in North Texas and has long been recognized as a leader in pediatric health. Children’s Health campuses include Children’s Medical Center Dallas, Children’s Medical Center Plano, and multiple Children’s Health Specialty Centers. With its academic partner, UT Southwestern, Children’s Medical Center Dallas is consistently ranked #1 children’s hospital in North Texas and among the nation’s best pediatric hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. Its commitment to excellence and providing outstanding care across all aspects of pediatrics has resulted in 10 out of 10 specialty programs being ranked among the best for six consecutive years, including Cancer, Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Neonatology, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology, and Urology.
In addition, Children’s Health nurses have received the Magnet® designation for the past 14 years, the highest honor for nursing excellence, and it has been named 2023 top places to work by Dallas Morning News and Energage, best place to work by the Dallas Business Journal, and one of the 150 Best Places to Work in Healthcare by Becker’s Hospital Review for 10 consecutive years.
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