Q: What are the gaps?
A: There are numerous gaps in 5 main areas of development.
1) Moral & Spiritual Development
What a person believes spiritually provides the foundation on which all thoughts are processed and decisions are made. (George Barna Research)
By age 13, moral and spiritual beliefs are determined, resulting in a perspective that will change very little with time unless a complex process of unlearning and replacing old knowledge with new knowledge takes place. (Barna Research)
Only 9% of American adults have a biblical worldview. (Barna)
Only 3% of American 13-year olds possess a biblical worldview. (Barna)
Most American children develop their worldview by default, meaning there is little intention in the way parents train their children to think and process information – instead allowing their children to be influenced by the media, movies, music, and friends, and depending on the local church for spiritual training. (Barna Research)
2) Emotional & Behavioral Development
Research on early childhood has underscored the impact of the first five years of a child’s life on his/her social-emotional development. Negative early experiences can impair children’s mental health and effect their cognitive, behavioral, social-emotional development. (National Center for Children in Poverty)
61% of Union County households living in poverty with children under 18 have no male parent in the home. (U.S. Census, 2016)
33% of ALL Union County households with children under 18 have no male parent in the home. (U.S. Census, 2016)
Parents in general feel they are being let down by society, but they are also the ones who are primarily the problem, leaning on institutions for the development of their children rather than re-arranging their priorities and committing to preparing their children for life. (Barna Research)
1 in every 3 children will grow up without a mentor (mentoring.org)
Crime rates double among those living in poverty compared to those living in higher income households.
In 10-14 year olds, suicide rates doubled from 2007-2014.
3) Intellectual Development & Educational Achievement
Children living in poverty lack a supportive, stimulating environment that allows them to learn some of the basic knowledge they need to succeed in school.
Anxiety has become a new learning disability affecting 27%-33% of American children. The stress and trauma in dysfunctional or low income home environments not only robs children of the energy they need to focus and concentrate in the classroom, they actually rewire the way a child’s brain works so that learning is inhibited. (Lori Desautels, College of Education, Butler University)
Arkansas ranks 2nd highest in ADHD diagnoses of school-age students at 14.6% followed by Louisiana who ranks 3rd highest. (Centers for Disease Control).
Students with ADHD most often have difficulties with executive brain functioning, “mental skills that help the brain organize and act on information,” a process vital to learning. (Understood for Learning and Attention Issues, understood.org)
85% of those who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate (U.S. Cens us 2016)
4) Health & Physical Development
Arkansas is one of the worst states for food insecurity, ranking 4th highest with 17.5% of households not having enough food to maintain health on a daily basis. (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, 2016)
5) Economic State & Financial Responsibility
Impoverished living conditions affect over 4,000 children (32% of families with children) under the age of 18 in Union county. (U.S. Census, 2016)
Poverty breeds factors that contribute to poor life outcomes for young people, including neglect, abuse, family dysfunction, substance abuse, crime, and poverty itself. (“A Framework for Understanding Poverty, a Cognitive Approach,” Ruby K. Payne)