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Annie E. Casey Foundation

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Annie E. Casey Foundation
HeadquartersBaltimore, MD, United States
Lisa Hamilton
Revenue (2015)
Expenses (2015)$208,727,421[1]

The Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) is a charitable foundation focused on improving the well-being of American children and youth.

The AECF is one of the dominant organizations in child welfare and juvenile justice in the U.S., and one of the most influential "watchdogs" for child well-being, as they collect and publish most of the data on children in poverty in the U.S. annually, through its Kids Count Data Book.


The AECF was started in 1948 in Seattle by UPS founder James E. Casey and his siblings George, Harry and Marguerite. Their foundation was named in honor of their mother. The foundation moved to Baltimore in 1994.[2][3]

Originally a charity, chiefly focused on providing foster care, the organization gradually shifted to a broader role in attempting to advance child well-being through social experimentation, research and publicity. Along the way, it divested its direct services foster care operation, while increasing its focus on family-strengthening (a model that was proposed by the AECF) economic stability, community change research, advocacy and action.[4][3][5][6]

Through its extensive publicity efforts, the AECF has become a major source of information on the welfare of children in the United States,[4][5][7][8]

Casey Family Services[edit]

From 1976 to 2012, the AECF operated Casey Family Services, a direct services organization that provided foster care and family services in the northeastern United States. Starting out in Connecticut and Vermont, the program expanded throughout New England and into Maryland before its closure in 2012.[3]

Child well-being publicity and publications[edit]

Among the organization's practices is the development of "public accountability" for child welfare outcomes—through continuing publication, and publicizing, of research and comparative data that assess the health and wellness of children in the various states and communities across the nation. In addition to reports, AECF operates the KIDS COUNT Data Center, which features national, state, and local data on the well-being of kids and families in the U.S.[4][2][5]

In keeping with this goal, the foundation is a regular contributor to public broadcasting, including National Public Radio.

In another key form of "public accountability", the foundation develops several written publications reporting the current status of children across the nation, state-by-state.

In particular, the foundation produces a detailed, annual child-welfare research report, the KIDS COUNT Data Book (also known as the Kids Count or simply the Data Book), surveying the well-being of children in the 50 US states, ranking the states on 10 core indicators, and overall—drawing heavily on documented sources and official reports. This reference book, printed every year since 1990, is considered one of the foremost reference documents—for academics, media, business and public leaders—on child health and well-being in the United States, and particularly in each of the 50 states, comparatively.[4][9][3][5][10]

In 2014, the organization also released its Race for Results Index, comparing the previous 23 years of data accumulated on the well-being of America's children—intending to start a national conversation about startling disparities between racial and ethnic groups. For the first time, this index was based on indicators of success: reading and math proficiency, high school graduation rates, teen birthrates, employment futures, neighborhood poverty levels, family income and education levels. Standardized scores, indicating the children's likelihood of success in adult life, were presented for each state and racial group (where valid data was available) using data gathered between 2010 and 2013.[3][11]

The foundation also sponsors (or produces), and distributes, research reports and white papers on various topics involving child welfare and related programs and public policy issues.[12]

Child welfare development grants[edit]

The foundation works with—and makes grants to—governments (particularly states), universities and civic organizations, to improve conditions for children.[2][5][13][14]

AECF describes the grantees as the "KIDS COUNT Network" and uses them as outlets for its outreach communications and influence efforts, although it accepts that their individual priorities and goals may vary somewhat from AECF's.[15]

Juvenile justice alternatives[edit]

The Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), a project developed in 1992 by the AECF, demonstrates ways for jurisdictions to safely reduce reliance on secure confinement of children, and strengthen juvenile justice systems through interrelated reform strategies. The JDAI reports that it is now[when?] being copied in approximately "200 jurisdictions in 39 states and the District of Columbia". The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has worked directly and extensively with the AECF on these issues, as well.[5][16]

The JDAI Helpdesk[17] used to be an online information tool for juvenile justice advocates, practitioners, policymakers, and other parties seeking to improve juvenile justice systems, sharing the juvenile justice "best practices", research and materials produced by JDAI jurisdictions. Featured materials included strategies and tools documented to safely reduce secure confinements, while improving public safety, avoiding costs and doing "what works for youth" to develop them into "healthy, productive adults".[5][16]

The JDAI Helpdesk was operated—in partnership with the AECF—by the Pretrial Justice Institute.[16]

One prominent[18] success story is the Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center near Richmond, Virginia. AECF provided technical expertise to assist the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice in significantly reducing juvenile prison populations.[19]

Thrive by 25[edit]

In 2021, the AECF announced an initiative called Thrive by 25, which is meant to increase its focus on improving the lives of youth and young adults. Over 10 years, the organization will dedicate at least 50 percent of its philanthropic investments to ensure that young people between the ages 14 and 24 have the family connections, relationships, communities, and educational and employment opportunities they need to succeed.

Financial affairs[edit]

A detailed review of AECF financial history and current finances, in a Stanford University case study[20] is available online, partially as a web page, but completely as a downloadable PDF file.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Annie E. Casey Foundation" (PDF). Foundation Center. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Arrillaga-Andreessen, Laura and Victoria Chang, "The Annie E. Casey Foundation", Social Innovation, 2006, Case No.SI74, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, retrieved 2015-08-05
  3. ^ a b c d e "Our History", "About" section, official website, Annie E. Casey Foundation, retrieved 2015-08-05.
  4. ^ a b c d "Political Memo; Using 'Kids' to Push Fight on Poverty Obscure the Issues, Critics Say," March 29, 1993, The New York Times, retrieved December 28, 2019
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Holder, Eric, Attorney General of the United States, "Remarks by Attorney General Eric Holder at the Annie E. Casey Foundation's KIDS COUNT 25th Anniversary Reception Dinner", Baltimore, MD, October 01, 2014, as posted on United States Dept. of Justice website, retrieved 2015-08-02
  6. ^ Kelly, John, "Flexible Federal Funding for Child Welfare: 'How' Is the Hard Part", July 15, 2013, The Chronicle of Social Change, retrieved 2015-08-05
  7. ^ Tolchinsky, Amy, press release: "Philanthropic Leader Douglas Nelson Named Chair of CDC Foundation Board", 2014-10-16, CDC Foundation Congressionally chartered affiliate of the CDC—Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  8. ^ "Opportunity Youth Network" Archived 2015-08-17 at the Wayback Machine, The Aspen Forum for Community Solutions, retrieved 2015-08-05
  9. ^ 2015 KIDS COUNT Data Book
  10. ^ Clinton, William J., President of the United States "Statement on the Annie E. Casey Foundation Report on Child Care,", May 5, 1998, the White House, Washington, D.C., as archived online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project, University of California at Santa Barbara, California.
  11. ^ "Race for Results: Opportunity and Success for All of Our Nation's Children", April 7, 2014, Georgia State University
  12. ^ "Resources Produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Family to Family (Pacific Region)", Family to Family (Pacific Region), State of California.
  13. ^ "Kids Count". Annie E. Casey Foundation. Archived from the original on 28 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-16.
  14. ^ "Tag Archives: Annie E. Casey Foundation"[permanent dead link], Humanities and Social Sciences News, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, North Carolina State University.
  15. ^ Gienapp, A., Reisman, J., Langley, K., Cohen, C., Cipollone, T., Kelly, T., Crary, D., & Lin Chong, S. (2010). "Strategic Communications for Influence: Lessons From the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Its KIDS COUNT Initiative. The Foundation Review, 1(4). [1] (PDF at [2]
  16. ^ a b c Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative Archived 2015-08-04 at the Wayback Machine, JDAI Helpdesk official website, retrieved 2015-08-02
  17. ^ JDAI Helpdesk
  18. ^ Pollock, Nicolas. "The Last Kids Locked Up in Virginia". The Atlantic. Retrieved 22 April 2019. The state's juvenile-detention system has been shrinking for years. Now, there's just one facility left: Bon Air.
  19. ^ "Data Tells How Virginia's Youth Justice System is Headed Toward a Better Future". The Annie E. Casey Foundation. 7 February 2019. Retrieved 22 April 2019. The state's five-pronged reform strategy, which the Annie E. Casey Foundation has supported with technical expertise, has realized some clear gains.
  20. ^ "The Annie E. Casey Foundation" Social Innovation, 2006, Case No. SI74, Stanford Graduate School of Business

External links[edit]