McCarthy Speaks at Community and Diversity in American Life Colloquium

Posted November 30, 2011
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion Pres­i­dent and CEO Patrick T. McCarthy pre­sent­ed at the 15-year-old col­lo­qui­um series, Com­mu­ni­ty and Diver­si­ty in Amer­i­can Life, at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land Col­lege Park. His remarks focused on the 2011 KIDS COUNT Data Book and the broad­er mes­sage about the Foundation’s work in the areas of fam­i­ly, com­mu­ni­ty and oppor­tu­ni­ty. From his address:

When it comes to the econ­o­my, we are a nation obsessed with sta­tis­tics. We mea­sure report and wor­ry about lead­ing eco­nom­ic indi­ca­tors, unem­ploy­ment rates, con­sumer con­fi­dence the gross domes­tic prod­uct, spend­ing, bor­row­ing, home val­ues, hous­ing starts, the trade deficit com­modi­ties mar­kets, sev­er­al dif­fer­ent stock mar­ket indices, inven­to­ries, sales vol­ume, and on and on. These are all crit­i­cal mea­sures of the strength of the econ­o­my, of course, and they are indeed impor­tant to mea­sure and to try to understand.

At the same time, I’d love to see us spend even a frac­tion of that obses­sive ener­gy on the well-being of kids and fam­i­lies. Wouldn’t that be some­thing? If every week, or even every month, there were analy­ses of nation­al trends in child­hood edu­ca­tion­al, phys­i­cal, emo­tion­al, behav­ioral and social devel­op­ment? With a sense of urgency to do some­thing if the trends were head­ed in the wrong direc­tion, or if it looked like the U.S. was falling behind oth­er coun­tries in any of these areas?

It turns out that we are falling behind, and it seems to be at an accel­er­at­ing pace.

Pre­vi­ous speak­ers at the Col­lo­qui­um include Pro­fes­sor Cor­nel West of Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty, Chil­dren Defense Fund Pres­i­dent Mar­i­an Wright Edel­man, and Holo­caust sur­vivor and author Elie Wiesel.

View a tran­script of McCarthy’s speech on the well-being of Amer­i­ca’s chil­dren in 2011

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