"Concerning Kids" Study Issues Initial Findings

"Concerning Kids: A Skillman Study conducted by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis at the University of Connecticut" has concluded the first public opinion survey in a two-year study of residents in Macomb, Wayne and Oakland counties, and the city of Detroit, on issues relating to children.

Topics covered include public education and the progress of school reform, recreation and after-school activities, as well as healthcare and safety concerning youth. Following are some of the highlights.

More than half of the tri-county residents interviewed clearly show support for a tax increase to pay for increased funding for improving public schools. Support is approximately equal in Detroit (56%), out-Wayne (52%), Macomb (55%) and Oakland (56%).

Another interesting education-related finding is the vast difference in views regarding the quality of local public schools between residents in the survey areas. Seven out of ten people in Oakland County, 3 out of 5 in Macomb County and about half in out-Wayne County graded their schools a "B" or higher. In contrast, nearly 75% of Detroit respondents graded their schools a "C" or lower.

"Concerning Kids" also found that children and youth healthcare is a very important issue for Metro Detroit respondents. Detroiters (81%) are more likely to say children and youth healthcare is "very important" to them compared to people living in out-Wayne (65%), Macomb (65%) and Oakland (61%) counties.

When ranking issues of healthcare for children on a scale of 0-10, with zero being "not at all important" and ten being "very important," nearly two-thirds of the public rate drugs as a 9 or 10 and nearly three out of every five respondents rated vaccinations and immunizations as important, while more than half identified child abuse as a priority.

Findings show people in the Detroit Metro area are worried about the kids in their community and say that access to youth recreation programs is more of an issue than the quality of the programs themselves. Detroiters are more likely to say violence toward youth is a major problem for them than respondents in the other three areas. Eight-in-ten (80%) people in the City of Detroit report that violence toward youth is "very important" to them.

Additionally, more than three-quarters of respondents prefer investing money into programs rather than into security measures like metal detectors, surveillance, and policing in and around schools.

Finally, there is a difference of opinion by area surveyed when respondents were asked if their community has done enough to teach tolerance to youth. Three-quarters of respondents in the City of Detroit felt their community has not done enough compared to less than half for the rest of Wayne County. About one-third in Oakland (35%) and Macomb (33%) counties felt that not enough was being done to teach tolerance.

A summary of the results will be published shortly and will be available from The Skillman Foundation.