History

In 1989, the Governor’s Task Force on Children, Youth and Families, launched KIDS COUNT, a nationwide, project funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to publish annual, statewide “Data Books” to educate the public and policymakers about the needs and conditions of children. In 1995, The Task Force changed its name to the West Virginia KIDS COUNT Fund. Now, simply called West Virginia KIDS COUNT, the organization has continued to publish a yearly data book as well as lead efforts, create programs and host events that raise awareness and continue the commitment to making West Virginia a “great place to be a kid.”

History Timeline

Click on the arrows to see the history of West Virginia KIDS COUNT.

  • 1989

    West Virginia Human Resource Association publishes a landmark study on the plight of West Virginia children.
    This led gubernatorial candidate Gaston Caperton to commit to improve lives of West Virginia’s children by
    establishing the Governor’s Task Force on Children, Youth and Families.

  • 1990

    Business and faith leaders transition the task force into the formation of a nonprofit called the
    “Task Force on Children Youth and Families” to address the needs of West Virginia’s children.

  • 1992

    Task Force on Children Youth and Families implemented the DAY ONE project statewide and demonstrated its
    success in teaching new parents how their babies learn; also published the first WV KIDS COUNT Data Book
    tracking the key indicators of child well-being on a statewide and county-by-county basis.

  • 1995

    The Task Force on Children, Youth and Families changes its name to West Virginia KIDS COUNT Fund.

  • 2004

    Studied how young children learn to read and published a report identifying The Building Blocks of Learning:
    love, talk, rhyme, read and play. The report later became the basis for KIDS COUNT’s Every day, Every way! campaign.

  • 2006

    Led the Policy Matters project to document the state’s early child development policies and determine the
    best ways to improve the quality and accountability of the state’s early education system.

  • 2007

    Launched the Every day, Every way! program, a toolkit that successfully reminded parents of young children
    to incorporate the building blocks of learning — love, talk, rhyme, read and play — into their everyday routines.

  • 2008

    Led the Kids First Communities campaign, a year-long advocacy effort which resulted in historic legislation
    creating the framework for West Virginia’s first childcare quality rating and improvement system.

  • 2009

    Launched the Business on Board with Childcare! award program to recognize businesses
    that support their employees’ childcare needs.

  • 2010

    Completed second annual Business on Board with Childcare! awards program; the third annual Take a Flower to
    Childcare Day Celebration and 19th KIDS COUNT Data Book.

  • 2011

    Completed third annual Business on Board with Childcare! awards program; fourth annual “Take a Flower to Childcare Day”

    celebration (year 4); and 20th West Virginia KIDS COUNT Data Book.

  • 2013

    Launched a series of innovative “info-graphics” designed to highlight with data the important issues facing
    West Virginia’s children and the policy solutions for overcoming them.

  • 2015

    Developed a project designed to make West Virginia a top 20 place to be a kid by 2025.

  • 2016

    Reorganized the organization to support and sustain its mission.

  • 2017

    Published a series of Issue Briefs on Neonatal Substance Disorder, Children’s Healthcare,
    Children’s Healthcare Insurance and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

  • 2018

    Established Data and Policy Committee to guide the redevelopment of the WV KIDS COUNT Data Book.

  • 2019

    Release of 2019 WV KIDS COUNT State Data Book and Launch of new website and WV KIDS COUNT State Searchable Database.