A new report released today by the Public School Forum of North Carolina’s Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP) highlights large areas of North Carolina where young people are at risk of not succeeding. The Roadmap of Need, an annual report from NC CAP, uses data on health, youth behavior and safety, education, and economic development to assess the relative well-being of young people living in each of North Carolina’s 100 counties.

“This year’s edition of the Roadmap shows we are increasingly becoming two North Carolinas – one populated by young people living in thriving areas that are attracting jobs and industry, and another populated by young people living in communities in a state of decline,” said Keith Poston, President and Executive Director of the Public School Forum of North Carolina. “It is our hope that this resource can be used by key stakeholders to develop strategies and target resources to help ensure that all North Carolina youth have the opportunity to succeed both in and out of school.”

In 2010, the Public School Forum and NC CAP created the first Roadmap of Need using ten indicators related to afterschool programs, health care, job programs and other key initiatives for youth success. The Roadmap of Need was expanded in 2013 to 20 indicators of wellness across four domains: health, youth behavior and safety, education, and economic development.
According to the report, the five top counties where young people have the greatest likelihood for success are Orange, Union, Wake, Cabarrus and Camden. The bottom five where young people are most at risk are Anson, Halifax, Northampton, Edgecombe and Robeson. The makeup of the top 5 is unchanged from last year, while Northampton replaced Scotland County in the bottom 5 this year.

At first glance, the Roadmap of Need points to counties in eastern North Carolina as those most at risk. However, the nature of countywide indicators often masks the variation occurring within counties, particularly populous urban counties where neighborhoods that alone would fare well on the Roadmap indicators can exist in close proximity to neighborhoods with many young people in need.

The Roadmap of Need has been a key resource for afterschool providers communicating with policymakers, funders, and citizens about the importance of their services, and to target areas for increased investment. School administrators, central office staff, nonprofits, community leaders, and parent advocates also use the report to demonstrate to others the needs faced by their communities. Public education advocates have brought Roadmap data to the attention of school board members, county commissioners, and members of the General Assembly, in order to inform their efforts to create state and local policies that address significant community needs.

The Roadmap of Need was made possible by a generous grant from GSK.

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