The state of our children – copy of report included |

The state of our children – copy of report included

The word is out. People in Nevada County now know what’s going on with matters related to children in the county, thanks to Nevada County’s 2006 “State of the Children Report,” released by the office of the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Friday morning.

This is the first time such a comprehensive report has been shared with the public.

“We needed to highlight the three major areas about which we have concerns … children’s health, opportunity for teens, and recreation,” said Dr. Terence K. McAteer, the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools. “We wanted to reach (out) to most of the people in the county who don’t have children at home.”

McAteer feels an improvement will take place only when the community gets actively involved in childrens’ affairs.

“We did a survey of 1,700 students and parents and involved community leaders, who work with children, to come up with the grades (which appear in the report),” McAteer said.

Of the seven categories that were graded, recreation for youth received a D plus, the lowest grade in the report. Opportunities for teens got the next low grade, a C minus, children’s health got a C, and local support for children was graded a C plus.

Quality of K-12 education, enrichment opportunities for children, and quality and quantity of services for children, newborn to the age of six, received a B+, B-, and a B, respectively.

“We need to do better,” said Dotty Schmidt, board member of the Child Advocate of Nevada County. “Academically we are wonderful, but we need to do better in these areas. Recreation is one of the areas in which we need to focus our attention so that our kids have better opportunity healthwise and in all areas to do better. Recreation is so important. We have to give them something to do.”

Marty Mathiesen, principal at the Nevada Union High School, thinks the report is a valuable insight into the present challenges facing childrens’ issues.

“It gives us a perspective into what strategies we need to improve the status of our kids’ health,” he said. “The job of education is much more difficult when you are attempting to teach a kid that may have substance abuse problems, or, sleep, eating problems.”

So what’s the next step, now that the problems have been identified and rated?

“We will now be putting together action teams to focus on those three areas (children’s health, opportunity for teens, and recreation),” McAteer said. “Those action teams will start coming up with plans (to address the issues).”

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