For the third year, the 2017 report focuses on three critical "pivot points": Children's Health, Housing and the Opportunity Gap. This year's report highlights relevant indicators for each points: children's mental health, affordable housing and the need to train the workforce for "middle skills" jobs.
The Community Indicators Report also presents Orange County's data on the Early Development Index (EDI), a measure of kindergarten readiness. The EDI is now used in every school district throughout the county, giving the county the ability to compare school readiness rates across communities as well as to target improvements at the county level. In both 2015 and 2016, the EDI showed that 52% of children in the county were developmentally on-track and ready for kindergarten.
Lisa Burke, project manager for the Community Indicators Report, explained that the focus on pivot points has made the annual report a touchpoint for action. "We've been having this conversation about housing for a long time," Burke said. "But the report, by drilling down in the data, has taken the conversation to a new level."
The Forum was an opportunity to discuss how all of the pivot point issues are interrelated. Panel participants included a business leader, a housing advocate and the leader of an after-school program, all focused on what needs to be done to maintain the quality of life in Orange County. Community partners and government agencies can then use the report to identify areas where their time, resources and input are needed.