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America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2013

Indicators Needed

Behavior

A broader set of indicators than those presented in this section is needed to adequately monitor the behaviors of youth. Additional behavioral measures are needed on:

  • Activities promoting health and development. The participation of youth in a broad range of activities (e.g., volunteering, part-time employment, after-school activities) has been linked to positive developmental outcomes. However, additional research is needed to ascertain how and under what circumstances such activities relate to success in later life. The Forum has presented "Youth Employment While in School" and "Participation in Volunteer Activities" as special features in past America's Children reports. However, we currently lack regular indicators on youth involvement in various organized activities, as well as data to monitor specific health-promoting behaviors such as exercise.
  • Youth in the justice system. The youth perpetrators of serious violent crime indicator does not provide critical information on the involvement of youth in the juvenile and criminal justice systems, including the characteristics of youthful offenders and the number and characteristics of youth arrestees and detainees, those prosecuted in juvenile and adult courts, and those incarcerated in the Nation's jails, prisons, and juvenile facilities. Additional work is needed to produce a more comprehensive and useful picture of the number, experiences, and characteristics of youth within the criminal justice system.