The Kirwan Institute was commissioned and funded by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund to assist the Jacksonville Children’s Commission in understanding child well-being in Duval County, Florida through opportunity mapping and analysis. The project consists of three main components: a) mapping the distribution of comprehensive opportunity for children in Duval County, defined as a combination of neighborhood, educational, and health/environmental opportunity; b) an examination of the impacts of opportunity distribution on health and education outcomes; and c) a local application of opportunity mapping by analyzing demographic data of children served by the Children’s Commission and neighborhood conditions of the New Town Success Zone.
The status of children’s well-being is an important barometer for the health and vitality of our society. Understanding the current status of child well-being, as well as potential racial, geographic, and economic inequalities among children, can help shape polices intended to overcome inequalities and increase the life chances for all children. Measurement of child wellbeing involves examining physical, cognitive and socio-emotional development, as well as the family, school and neighborhood conditions in which children are situated. The “Human Development Index” used by the United Nations incorporates three dimensions of development − a long and healthy life, access to education, and a decent standard of living.1 Similarly, our opportunity analysis looks at multiple indicators of child well-being and synthesizes them into a composite measure of opportunity.