Issues and Statistics

Opportunity for All

Every child deserves a shot at the American Dream.  Every Child Matters in Iowa is committed to build a movement to close the opportunity gap facing Iowa’s kids.  If a person is born into poverty they are more likely to remain in poverty.  There is not one solution to fix the gap facing a number of our kids.  First, we can identify the problem to start to address the solutions.

  • 1 in 6 Iowa children live in poverty.
  • 41% of Iowa children qualify for free and reduced lunch.
  • 42,000 Iowa 3-4 year olds are not enrolled in preschool.
  • 21% of low-income working families have children.
  • 1 in 4 Iowa children receive some form of public assistance.
  • 77% of students eligible for free and reduced lunch score below the 4th grade reading proficiency level.

Working Families

Iowa leads the nation in the number of children needing access to child care because all available caregivers are working outside of the home.  There are number of issues impacting working families to ensure parents have the resources and tools to meet their children’s needs.

  • 76% of children in Iowa under the age of 6 have all available parents working outside of the home.
  • $9,485 is the annual cost of infant, center-based child care – more than the cost for 1 year of tuition at a public university.
  • More than 166,000 Iowa youth are responsible for caring for themselves after school.
  • Iowa workers have not seen a raise in the minimum wage since 2007, it remains at $7.25 per hour, however, municipalities are passing minimum wage increases at a local level in Iowa.
  • Mothers are the sole, primary, or co-breadwinners in 71.7% of Iowa families, yet women in Iowa earn 77¢ per $1 earned by a man.

Safe Homes and Communities

The long-term effects of child abuse and neglect take a physical and emotional toll on children, families, and our communities.  Adjusted for inflation, child abuse and neglect costs our country more than $82 billion per year.

In 2013, Governor Branstad signed legislation directing the Iowa Department of Human Services to recommend a differential response when child abuse reports are received. Under certain circumstances, the Department can lead to either a Family Assessment or a Child Abuse Assessment.  First and foremost is the safety of the child.

Iowa participated in an Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study.  Research found 1 in 8 Iowa adults experienced one form of child abuse or household dysfunction during childhood.  The potential for parents experiencing ACEs could affect their children’s.

  • 7,429 Iowa children are victims of abuse or neglect.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 children had 3 risk factors and 8% had more than six risk factors indicating high levels of stress.  These numbers indicate children today will have similar to stresses as their parents.

Healthy Kids

Physical, mental, and dental health contribute to the overall health of our kids.  Assuring access to health care leads to the ability of children to receive necessary care when needed.  Iowa is a leader in the nation with the number of children covered by health insurance either through public or private plans.  There are opportunities for improvements to access of care for all children, regardless of physical, mental, dental health care.

Iowa is undergoing Medicaid privatization that could impact access to health services for Iowa’s children covered under Medicaid or hawk-i.  Monitoring implementation will be important to assure access for Iowa’s children.

  • 25,000 Iowa children are uninsured.
  • 29.5% of children received public only health insurance (Medicaid or hawk-i).
  • Almost 1 in 5 children have one or more emotional, behavioral, or developmental condition.