Pediatricians advise reading to newborns

For the first time ever, the American Academy of Pediatricians is advising doctors to tell parents that, from infancy, they should be “reading together as a daily fun family activity.” They cite research on the importance of early reading to children in the development of pre-literacy skills. Communities Count reports that, in King County, daily reading to young children (birth to 5 years) is more likely among parents who were born in the U.S., spoke English as their first language, are college graduates, earn $75,000 or more per year, are non-Hispanic white, are in good health. King County education initiatives such as The Road Map Project emphasize daily reading to young children.

Good news about teen pregnancy

Sightline Daily reported a continuing downward trend in teen pregnancies for Washington State. Communities Count reports on teen births in King County, which have also decreased. However, large disparities persist by poverty, race/ethnicity, and region. To see data on adolescent births by King County cities and neighborhoods, go to King County Community Health Indicators under “reproductive health.”

Eastside project focuses on sexual assault of homeless youth.

The King County Sexual Assault Resource Center has partnered with Friends of Youth, the Redmond Police Department, the Riverview School District and Learning Center, and other organizations to create Project360, an innovative approach to addressing sexual assault trauma among homeless youth. Successfully piloted with Seattle-based YouthCare, the new program offers therapeutic support for sexually abused youth. Serving people 13 to 24 years old, Project360 stresses prevention, but also offers therapy, case management, community and legal advocacy, and training – across disciplines – in responding to sexual assault situations.
For more information on homeless youth, see Communities Count’s new section on Student Homelessness.

National graduation rate reaches all-time high

For the first time ever, more than 8 in 10 high school students in the United States graduated on time in 2012, according to the widely cited 2014 Building a GradNation report. These improvements occurred even as graduation standards were raised. What about students in King County? For that same year, Communities Count reported on-time graduation rates in King County ranging from 59.8% (Tukwila) to 92.9% (Mercer Island), with 12 districts performing at or above the national average. Among King County students with limited English proficiency, only 53% graduated on time (compared to 79% of all students). This 26-point gap was exceeded by only 11 states. King County also had a larger-than-average disparity in graduation rates of Black and white students, with only 65% of Black students graduating on time, compared to 85% of white students. Only 10 states showed larger Black/white differences.