While the guiding mission of the West Virginia KIDS COUNT Fund has remained the same since our inception in 1990 — to provide the most trusted data about the well-being of West Virginia's children and build alliances to advocate for what kids need — the organization's work is constantly evolving in response to changing community needs and emerging children's policy issues. The KIDS COUNT Data Book is our signature program and an objective, reliable and valued source of data for educating policymakers and the public about children's needs. Currently, we are fighting to improve the quality of childcare by advocating for the funding necessary to implement a quality rating and improvement system for childcare programs. And, we are working to improve children's oral health by advocating for policies that promote good dental care for our youngest children.
The KIDS COUNT Data Book
The first KIDS COUNT Data Book was published in 1992 and quickly became the most respected source of data and analysis about the plight of West Virginia's children. KIDS COUNT Fund has continued to publish the yearly report, tracking key indicators of the health, education, safety and security, and economic conditions of children both on a statewide and county-by-county basis. The Data Book is often the basis of public policy decisions and is also an important resource for those who seek and award funding from foundations and the private sector.
Childcare Quality Rating and Improvement System Advocacy
In 2008 and 2009, KIDS COUNT led a statewide policy campaign, called "West Virginia Kids First," that resulted in the legislative framework West Virginia’s first childcare quality rating and improvement system (QRIS). Now, KIDS COUNT is working with a broad-based coalition of child advocates, business leaders, childcare providers, legislative leaders and parents to secure the funding necessary to get the rating system up and running.
Children's Oral Health Advocacy
Since 2010, KIDS COUNT has been working to improve children's oral health by collecting and publishing objective, reliable data that will educate policymakers and the public about the importance of preventive dental care for young children; participating with oral health and child advocates in a coordinated effort to improve the dental health of West Virginia's kids; and advocating for policy changes that will improve children's access to preventive oral health services.