On March 12, the Census Bureau will send out the first mailings inviting people across the country to go online to fill out the census.
Here is a timeline of all the resources and activities you can expect from Count All Kids to help you in your efforts to make sure every young child in your community is counted.
Count All Kids has always had a four part strategy for increasing the number of young children counted in the census. We have resources for you for each step.
1) Locate the areas with the most children at risk of being missed, and identify why those children are at risk
2) Conduct message research on why families leave young children off their census responses and what messages will persuade them to respond
3) Develop tools for reaching families, using that message research
4) Engage complete count committees, advocates, and child-serving organizations in educating families about the need to count their young children.
Locating Census Tracts In Your Community At Very High Risk Of Missing Lots Of Children
The Population Research Bureau and Dr. Bill O’Hare have completed research on which factors identify areas where children are at very high risk of being missed. These areas often are in different places than the areas that might miss lots of adults. The PRB/O’Hare data is now available on the hard to count map so that you can identify which census tracts have large numbers of children at very high risk of being missed, and what factors put those children at risk. On Thursday, February 13, Count All Kids offered a webinar explaining the research and how to locate the data on the hard to count map. The recording and a companion fact sheet are available here; and additional PRB research is here.
Later this week, we will release additional information from PRB that will help you fine-tune your outreach strategies based on family structures and other key factors that affect census response for 29 different racial and ethnic subgroups.
The Count All Kids research was initially released in September, 2019; the recording of a webinar are available here. We just completed six new focus groups testing creative materials. On March 4, we will make available a message memo explaining how to incorporate the findings in your outreach. The week of March 9, we will offer a webinar on those findings. Some of the important things we learned:
• You have to say babies and children, or from birth on—many people don’t think the phrase “young children” includes babies.
• You have to put the values before the action (“Care about funding for your local schools? Make sure you count all babies and young children at your address when you respond to the census.”)
• Count All Kids is clearer than All Kids Count, or Every Child Counts, or other phrases that emphasize the value of children—it tells people exactly what you want them to do.
• People trust the Census Bureau for accurate information about who to count, so you should include their website and logo.
Many tools are now available, both specifically about children and more generally about the census. As new ones become available we will send out notices. Here is a description of current and planned resources and when they will be available.
• You can now access a google drive with child-focused resources from many national partners here. The google drive also has several designs for stickers in English and Spanish.
• On February 22, Sesame Workshop released PSAs/videos, posters, and fact sheets in English and Spanish using muppets that you can use in your outreach; their materials were created using our message research. One of the posters is in grayscale for printing on letter sized paper so that it can be printed on any printer. You can find those materials here.
• Resources for counting young children in Hispanic and Latino communities are available here.
• The Census Counts Campaign is also making materials from national partners available here: they include resources that are focused on counting other constituencies often missed in the census.
• This week, Count All Kids will post a toolkit to help complete count committees and advocates plan their work specifically for counting young children. We will post a separate blog with the links to those materials. It will include background information on missing young children in the census, a factsheet and powerpoint to educate providers, two fact sheets on how to count children in many different family situations, a template letter for child welfare agencies to give their foster families to ensure that foster children are counted, and a template letter for organizations that work with homeless people.
• On March 4, Count All Kids will post a set of outreach materials including a poster in English and Spanish, a palm card or flyer in English and Spanish, social media tools and a message memo, for general outreach. Over the next weeks we will translate those resources into a number of additional languages and upload them. We will send out notices as they become available. We anticipate that you will also be able to order printed copies from our fulfillment house, at cost, for delivery about two weeks later.
• Nickelodeon is also producing a PSA, but we don’t have an availability date yet.
• The week of March 9 we will offer a webinar that reports on our latest message research and also introduces you to the outreach materials we have developed. We also plan to release a set of materials for April 1, with a special message for counting all children in your home that day if they have no other permanent home.
Key Dates For Engaging Communities
Census Counts is now hosting a calendar which includes all events, trainings, conferences, etc. You can access it here. Please feel free to share it widely. If you have a major event you want added to the calendar, please email Joe Battistelli at email@example.com.
Statistics in Schools week is March 2-6. You can find a guide for each day here.
March 12 is the first day that the Census Bureau will mail out invitations to fill out the census online or by phone. Starting March 12, Census Counts will coordinate a set of kickoff activities that will be on that calendar.
On March 18, Count All Kids is asking everyone to undertake some local activities to highlight the need to count all children. We will undertake some national activities that are still being designed.
On March 25, the Federation of Pediatric Organizations will have Every Child Counts Day. The pediatric community will encourage the adults they interact with to count every child living in their homes in the 2020 Census.
April 1 is the official reference day to help you understand who to count. Count All Kids will have special resources to help you reach out to count children who are living somewhere temporarily. You should always count anyone who lives and sleeps at the same address most of the time (even if they are not part of your own household). If someone is in your home on April 1, you should count them
• if they split their time evenly between households,
• if you don’t know where they spend most of their time, or
• if they have no permanent home.
Many young children live in doubled- up households, so this is an important day to persuade people to count those children living temporarily with them.
We will have additional resources and activities later, as we identify the most important ways to continue the Count All Kids Campaign.
So take a deep breath—it’s time to start!