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State-level indicators for social-emotional development: Building better systems

Isakson, E.A., Davidson, L.L., Higgins, L.B., and Cooper, J.L. – 2011

Describes the importance of promoting social-emotional well-being in young children and advocates for the development of social-emotional wellness indicators at the state level. Discusses the process of identifying indicators that address the social and emotional well-being of young children. Such indicators include maternal and young child mental health data, child care center data, and statistics on foster care placements and child abuse/neglect for children under six. Presents results of a state survey on wellness indicators, noting that a majority of surveyed states developed indicators for social-emotional development, mostly related to child abuse. Notes value of evaluating social-emotional skills at kindergarten entry. Summarizes steps to create quality indicators. Steps are: identifying priorities, finding data, and ensuring high quality indicators. Appendix includes glossary of terms and descriptions of kindergarten assessments from North Carolina and Rhode Island.