Samms-Vaughan, Maureen E.; Williams, Sian; Brown, Janet
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Department of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Child Health
Determining Early Childhood Indicators for Jamaica: A Methodological Approach
Journal of the Children's Issues Coalition
Date of Publication
Economic indicators have been widely used to monitor the economic status of countries. Social indicators, and in particular, indicators of child well being are less well known and used. Within the last decade, child indicators have become increasingly important as a means of describing the current status of children, monitoring trends over time and setting attainment targets. The early childhood period is considered an important phase for children's future academic and behavioural development. Developing countries like Jamaica have poorer academic achievement at the primary years than developed countries, a phenomenon believed to have its genesis in the early childhood period. The absence of adequate information on children at the early childhood stage was considred an important contributor to the inability to address children's well being. The Profiles project was designed to obtain information on the status of children at the end of the pre school period and to develop indicators to monitor the status of children. This paper describes the methodology used to develop indicators for Jamaican children, from the collection of national survey data to the scientific selection of indicators. From hundreds of individual questions addressing child well being, nineteen indicators under the categories of Population, Family and Neighbourhood; Economic security; Health; Education; Social Development and Problem Behaviour; Outcome Indicators and International Comparison Indicators were identified. Recommendations for the indicators to be placed within a national monitoring system within Jamaica have been made. Other Caribbean nations may choose to adopt a similar methodology to determine indicators relevant to their own countries or may opt to utilise Jamaican indicators within their own monitoring systems....