2018 End of Childhood Report

More than half the world’s children – 1.2 billion – live in countries affected by widespread poverty, conflict and discrimination against girls, threatening their chance for a childhood. These children are excluded from learning, and denied basics like healthcare and even food. These children are stripped of their innocence and robbed of the their childhood – and the future they deserve.

To commemorate International Children’s Day, Save the Children publishes our global report, The Many Faces of Exclusion, which details factors that force children to grow up too soon, such as early pregnancy, extreme violence and living in poverty. The report’s End of Childhood Index reveals many countries have made progress for children since last year, yet conditions in several others appear significantly worse. Learn more about why childhoods are threatened around the world.

Did Your Childhood End Too Soon? Take the Quiz!

To commemorate International Children’s Day, Save the Children examines defining life events that can rob children of their childhoods and prevent them from reaching their full potential. Take our quiz to determine how your childhood experiences compare to the 1.2 billion children at risk today.

What Does This Mean for America?

In the 2018 End of Childhood Report, the U.S. is still ranked 36th, alongside countries like Russia, Kuwait and Bosnia. Even though America is among the most developed, wealthiest countries in the world, we continue to trail behind most of Western Europe in helping children reach their full potential. See the full ranking in our End of Childhood Report.

In fact, a shocking 14.1 million children in the U.S. are growing up in poverty. And while most Americans think child poverty is only an urban issue, child poverty rates are higher in rural areas. Nearly 1 in 4 rural children grow up in poverty.

That’s why our U.S. Complement to the End of Childhood Report focuses on rural child poverty. Growing Up Rural examines the factors that end childhood – like adolescent pregnancy, dropping out of school and even death. And we ranked each state, to see where childhood is threatened the most. This year’s report also examines the differences between urban and rural poverty. Find out where your state ranks.

See the Best and Worst Places to Be a Child in the U.S.

This map of the United States shows where childhood is most threatened (yellow) and childhood is least threatened (blue). States where childhood is most threatened are Alaska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. States where childhood is least threatened are Utah, Minnesota, Iowa, Virginia, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire. Photo credit: Save the Children 2017.

A Factor That Ends Childhood

The Factors That End Childhood
When Breanne told her family she was expecting her first child, she was met with shock and disappointment. She was only 15 years old at the time. Her small town community didn’t embrace her either.

Sky is the Limit for “Miracle” Baby

Four-year-old Surena lives up to her nickname, Millie, every day. The moniker is short for Milagros, which means “miracle” in Spanish.

Now thriving and healthy, the preschooler’s first days of life were not so certain. Born three months premature – and weighing 1 pound, 2 ounces – Surena’s first months were spent in a neonatal unit at a children’s hospital, 60 miles from her family in California’s Central Valley.

Her teen mother, Rosa, feeling isolated and alone just before Surena’s birth, connected with Save the Children, a rare family resource in Rosa’s remote, rural town, which struggles with limited services, poverty and unemployment.

“When I was pregnant and I had nobody to talk to about what I was afraid of, Save the Children sent me Diana,” said Rosa, speaking warmly of the early childhood specialist, Diana. “I didn’t know anything about babies or what I had to do. I wouldn’t have been able to do it alone.”

Diana conducts family home visits as part of Save the Children’s Early Steps to School Success program. Through such visits, parents are equipped with the skills to successfully support their children’s growth. And as a child grows, the program offers book exchanges and parent-child groups, laying a foundation of language and literacy skills for the child, and opportunities to develop socially and emotionally with their peers.

These days, Surena is attending preschool and eagerly awaits getting her book bag each week, as part of the Early Steps to School Success Book Bag Exchange. She and her mom – who was inspired to go on to finish her high school education – are also regularly attending the program’s parent-child groups.

Save the Children helped Surena learn how to be ready for school, and how to have fun while learning. Surena now has the confidence that she can do anything.

Our Work for Children in America

Since 1932, Save the Children has been on the ground providing support to the most isolated and underserved children in rural America. From our earliest days in Appalachia – helping children and families hardest-hit by the Great Depression – to today, our U.S. team goes where others cannot.

Learn more about our work in the United States.

Source: Save the Children’s End of Childhood Report & U.S. Complement: Growing Up Rural.


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