The eighth edition of the North Carolina Child Health Report Card NC, compiled by staff of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine, the North Carolina Child Advocacy Institute, and the NC Department of Health and Human Services, calls attention to important aspects of child health in our state where previous program efforts and resource investments have clearly paid huge dividends. We credit these accomplishments to the hard work of North Carolina service agencies and programs, as well to the enabling legislation and appropriations of the North Carolina General Assembly.
Although current achievements deserve praise, North Carolina has failing grades in several categories. In large part, these failures result from a lack of support for effective programs that address critical problems. As children continue to suffer from abuse and neglect, drug use, and firearm deaths, we cannot afford to turn our attention elsewhere. These failing areas require our attention now. At the same time we need to maintain gains already made in successful programs.
Fortunately North Carolina has a Plan that tells us how we can improve the health of our children. The North Carolina Institute of Medicine’s Comprehensive Child Health Plan: 2000-2005 is the consensus statement of child health experts in our state. Indicators in the Report Card represent the extent to which the Plan’s recommendations are being followed. If North Carolina can find ways to follow the guidance provided in the Plan, the health of North Carolina children will continue to improve. If not, we are likely to see more failing grades.
We hope that the Report Card underscores both the challenges and the potential for accomplishment in this important aspect of our citizens’ health and health care. As we improve the health of our children, we assure the future of our state and communities.