This Thursday April 30, The Children’s Partnership and child advocates across the country will join in the global celebration of Día de los Niños, recognizing the importance of celebrating the growing diversity among our nation’s kids and our collective role in raising children who are healthy and able to thrive. This celebration not only emphasizes the importance of literacy for all children from all backgrounds, but it also highlights the critical need to ensure and prioritize their development and wellbeing.
We know that in order for children to get the resources they need to learn and grow up healthy, they need to be included in the census. With every child counted, programs that provide early childhood and K-12 education, health coverage, food assistance, child care, and foster care are better resourced to support every child’s healthy development. This Thursday, we invite you to celebrate Día de los Niños with us by ensuring we count all kids on the census!
Children are among the most historically undercounted in the census and, in particular, children of color. The last decennial census missed 2 million children with higher rates of undercounts among children of color – 6.5% of Black children and 7.5% Latinx children were overlooked. Many young children are missed because they face complex living arrangements, including transitional and temporary housing, foster care, and mixed-status immigrant households. Parents may face linguistic barriers or be unaware that they should list their young children as household residents on the questionnaire.
Now amid the COVID-19 crisis, we have to work even harder to get the word out, as young children of color and immigrant families face even greater challenges. A report by the Kaiser Family Foundation shares that communities of color face increased financial and health risks associated with COVID-19 due to economic and social circumstances. The coronavirus only exacerbated many challenges faced by communities of color that can be addressed when they are counted in the Census.
We have to send a clear message to families that responding to the census is a way for all communities to get their fair share of resources to support their health, education, and wellbeing, as population data will be critical in facilitating our recovery from this public health crisis. Now more than ever, we must ensure families include their young children in the 2020 Census and communicate this information in new ways while families are sheltering at home.
Here’s how you can leverage Día de los Niños on April 30th to help mitigate the undercount of children of color and ALL kids during these trying times:
- Share Nuestra Familia Cuenta/Our Kids Count fact sheet and family-friendly social media graphics which describe different family situations and helpful hints on how to ensure everyone in a household is counted. You can also check out Our Family Counts/Nuestra Familia Cuenta social media toolkit that has suggested social media posts in both English and Spanish.
- Use the Population Reference Bureau’s (PRB) census tract database that allows users to identify ZIP Codes where a large number of young children have a very high risk of being undercounted in the 2020 Census to refine your outreach strategy. You can access the census tract database here.
- Take our Digital Pledge to Complete the Census / Comprometase a Llenar el Censo and tell us why you believe it’s important to make sure all kids count. Share widely in English or Spanish to help spread the word.
- Virtual Presentations – Host a virtual presentation to communities to explain the importance of the census and to delineate the ways families can complete the census questionnaire. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for support.
- Keep in touch with parent liaisons or parent leaders to learn how you can support families with questions they have about completing the census.
- Send newsletters with resources to all of your networks encouraging them to participate in the census and keep them up to date with the latest timeline information! Resources for Latinx families from NALEO can be found here.
- Homeschool Activity Idea- Ask students to participate in LACOE’s and Count the Nation’s contest by creating and posting memes, videos, graphics or a photo on any social media account. For their caption, ask students to answer the question, “Why is the census important to my family, my school and/or my community? Visit Count the Nation’s website to learn more!
- Social Media Challenges – Encourage friends to take the census by tagging them your social media channels! Use the #StandUpBeCounted to participate!
Children are our future. On Día de los Niños, let’s make ALL niños count! Join us in ensuring we get an accurate count of children in Census 2020!