Data-Based Child Advocacy

  • William P. O’Hare


There has been a clear upward trajectory in child advocacy activity over the past century, and today dozens of groups are working to improve the lives of children around the world. Within the broad field of child advocacy, a subset of advocates have emerged who focus on the use of data to promote better lives for children. Over the past 20 years, there has been an enormous increase in the development and use of child indicators. The child indicator movement has been fostered and enhanced by work in many sectors including philanthropy, government, civil society, nonprofit organizations, and academia. Moreover, the development has been driven by a mix of scholars, scientists, researchers, policymakers, journalists, advocates, and practitioners. This mix of providers and users and the breadth of organizations involved often means that child well-being data are employed in ways that go beyond what is typically considered scholarly activity. Despite widespread use of child indicator data outside of academia, little has been written about the use of child indicators in advocacy activities. This article identifies and explores five types of circumstances where child indicators are used in an advocacy context. These include:
  1. 1.

    Raising public awareness

  2. 2.

    Making data on children easily available

  3. 3.

    Advocating for more and better data on children

  4. 4.

    Goal setting and monitoring child well-being

  5. 5.

    Evaluating programs and policies


In addition to discussing each of the types of data-based child advocacy noted above, some of the key distinctions between use of child indicators in scholarly work and in advocacy work are discussed.


Child Indicator Child Poverty Rate Casey Foundation Child Advocacy Child Advocate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.O’Hare Data and Demographic Services, LLCEllicott CityUSA

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