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Our Children Now! is an umbrella project initiated to coordinate and steer a number of closely linked efforts on behalf of children. In the decades since the launch of this initiative, CFVI has spearheaded a number of projects, programs, and efforts aimed at enhancing the lives of children and families in the territory. Among the key activities have been: collaborating with community and government partners to advocate for policy development and program enhancement, and providing an annual data snapshot.
Through Our Children Now! CFVI aims to serve as a facilitator of efforts that will positively impact children’s development, readiness for school, and later life success. CFVI is committed to raising public awareness, increasing parent/family engagement, advising stakeholders on best practices, and serving as a clearinghouse for funding dedicated to children and families.
From 1999 to 2019, CFVI served as the USVI grantee/steward for KIDS COUNT, a national network of nonprofits, foundations and consortiums launched in 1990, including members from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The initiative is made possible by the generous financial and technical assistance and support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Its purpose is to promote dialogue on children’s issues and to stimulate community response to improve the health, safety and economic status of VI children, from birth to age 18. From 2000-2019, the KIDS COUNT USVI Data Book was compiled and published each year by CFVI and are the result of sustained local partnerships involving CFVI, the University of the Virgin Islands, the Virgin Islands government, community organizations, and service-providing agencies.
According to Casey Foundation senior policy associate Karina Jimenez Lewis, “Kids Count and U.S. Virgin Islanders have benefited greatly from the stewardship and service to the Kids Count initiative from the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands. We know that providing children and families with the resources, tools and information they need is an ongoing and central part of CFVI’s work and that the Kids Count work will continue to be enhanced by their expertise and experience.” During this time of transition, CFVI stands ready to assist in whatever capacity is needed to assure the continued success of KIDS COUNT USVI.
Electronic versions of the Data Book are available on CFVI’s Publications page, along with a variety of other materials and resources. Data are also accessible via the KIDS COUNT Data Center, which provides in-depth historical and current data on all available indicators for the Virgin Islands. Hosted by the National KIDS COUNT Initiative, data are drawn from both local and national sources.