One Hundred Percent of Madison County’s Future
Heart of Indiana United Way recently had the honor of sponsoring Indiana Youth Institute’s (IYI) presentation of the 2023 State of the Child for East Central Indiana non-profit and school leaders. IYI President and CEO Dr. Tami Silverman and her team shared the latest data collected for their annual Indiana KIDS COUNT Data Book. This data serves as a barometer of the well-being of Hoosier children—reporting statistics about children’s status with their health, education, economic standing, as well as community and family supports.
After all the speeches and information, Tami closed by saying, “Children represent just about 26% of our state’s population. We at Indiana Youth Institute often follow that up by saying they also represent 100% of our future.”
This is perhaps the most profound thing said…and why Heart of Indiana United Way focuses our efforts on the children who live in Madison, Delaware, Randolph, Fayette, and Henry Counties. We fight for the children of our region. Our coalitions, funded partners, and direct-service programs ensure children have access to books and words in their homes, provide volunteers for high-dosage reading tutoring, offer wrap around supports to their families through our THRIVE Network, or help them overcome adverse childhood experiences through positive experiences and programs that strengthen safety-net services.
Here are some fast facts about child welfare in Madison County:
- Over 22% of Madison County children live below the poverty level.
- Nearly 51% of children enrolled in Madison County schools are eligible for free and reduced lunch.
- Almost 30% of Madison County’s children and youth reside in single-headed households.
- The average cost of childcare in these communities is $94 per week.
- The estimated demand for early childhood programs for children 8 and under in Madison County would require 6,349 seats. Yet, the county’s total capacity is 2,279 seats—with only 1,344 having obtained licensure through the state and applied to Paths to Quality.
To ensure success in school and life, we call on all Madison County community members to help remind families of their power as their children’s first teachers. Ninety percent of brain development happens before the age of 5. Reading, talking, singing, and playing with infants, toddlers and preschoolers will help ensure they have a strong start in school.
Which means we as a community must also support families with the resources they need to help their children. This May, we are launching Heart of Indiana United Way’s annual diaper drive. We are collecting diapers to be distributed throughout the community’s baby pantries. To donate, you can drop diapers off at any of our collection spots, or at our Anderson office located at 205 W. 11th Street.
Of Madison County’s population of 130,037 people, 28,233 are children and youth under the age of 18. Or, as Dr. Tami Silverman would put it, 22% of Madison County’s population are kids—and they are 100% of our future.
To read more about Madison County’s Kids Count Data, visit Indiana Youth Institute’s website at www.IYI.org.