Frequently Asked Questions

What is the NYS KIDS COUNT Initiative?

Since 1997, the Council has been a member of the state-level KIDS COUNT network, supported with funding by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. A primary objective of the New York State KIDS COUNT project is to disseminate county-level data that focuses on child well-being in order to advance the use of children’s health, education and well-being indicators as a tool for policy development, planning and accountability. Utilizing a framework called New York State Touchstones, data from numerous state agencies are organized by six major life areas: Economic Security, Physical and Emotional Health, Education, Citizenship, Family, and Community. Each life area has a set of goals and objectives representing expectations about the future and a set of indicators reflecting the status of children and families. The Council produces an annual data book and special reports focusing on emerging and specific topics.

What does NYS Touchstones/KIDS COUNT try to accomplish?

By providing policymakers, program administrators and citizens with timely access to New York State Touchstones/KIDS COUNT/KWIC products, data users have an enhanced tool to gather and use indicator data to assess needs, design and improve programs, and sharpen their focus on outcomes.

What criteria are used in selecting NYS Touchstones indicators?

There are four major criteria for indicator selection:

  • The measure has to focus on the characteristics of children and families, not on the characteristics of programs or services;
  • The measure has to be population-based;
  • The data has to be available annually for counties; and
  • The measure has to be reliable.

What geographic regions are presented in NYS Touchstones/KIDS COUNT/KWIC data products?

Data are presented for 65 regions: New York State, New York City, Rest of State (NYS minus NYC) and each of New York State’s 62 counties.

What are the benefits of using a web-based data system?

KWIC has several advantages over hard copy publications, including:

  • greater access to New York State children’s health, education and well-being data;
  • more current data;
  • more indicators;
  • access to other data resources; and
  • the ability to tailor data to fit specific needs.

What formats for accessing and displaying Touchstones/KIDS COUNT data on KWIC?

KWIC offers numerous formats for accessing and displaying data, including pre-defined and custom reports.

Pre-defined options:

  • An Indicator Report provides a table of all regions for a selected indicator.
  • A County Report provides a table of all indicators organized by life areas for a selected region.

Custom Report options:

  • A Custom Report gives users the ability to select specific indicator(s), region(s), and year(s).
  • The Graph Builder gives users the ability to build line graphs and bar charts for selected indicator(s), region(s) and year(s).
  • The Map Builder gives users the ability to map the full range of KWIC data, geographic areas and points of interest for an in-depth view of counties and communities across the state.