Metro Atlanta is Failing at Child Well-Being

Metro Atlanta is Failing at Child Well-Being

by Michael Davis


My ask of you reading this article is to help spread the word about the child well-being movement by increasing awareness in your community and with your local municipality.


The late Linda Creed wrote the lyrics for the popular song “The Greatest Love of All” made famous by George Benson and Whitney Houston. I think universally everyone agrees with the opening lyrics of the song, “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way” Further, the well-being of our children is a bellwether the health of our communities. Simply put, when our children thrive, our communities can thrive. Unfortunately, the thirteen-county metro Atlanta has a failing total child well-being index of 58.9 and nearly half a million children in the live-in communities with low or very low child well-being.



The child well-being index was developed by the United Way along with a dozen partners to provide communities a quality of life index to understand how the children, the families supporting the children, and the community they live are doing.  The child well-being index is comprised of fourteen measures in the categories of child, family, and community.



The United Way of Greater Atlanta website,, for the child well-being movement, resources, and materials.  In particular, the website provides the ability to look up the child well-being index scores by neighborhood by simply entering your zip code.  I suggest you go the website to explore your score. Go the website and click on Explore Your Score.  In the upper right corner of the screen click on the search icon and enter a zip code in the search bar.



“I want to publicly thank the United Way of Greater Atlanta President & CEO Milton J. Little, Jr., Chief Operating Officer Timothy Packenham, and Regional Director Denise Townsend for their commitment and dedication to improving the lives of our children in metro Atlanta.” The United Way is working to ensure every child, family, and community has the opportunity to thrive.  The United Way has established a goal is to by 2027 to raise the overall greater Atlanta region by 10 points to 68.9 which will improve the lives of 250k children in metro Atlanta.


The metro Atlanta area has a failing score and we have a crisis. The range of scores across the thirteen-county metro Atlanta area ranges from 81.4 to 36.2.  Connect South Fulton believes that community development and economic development are inextricably linked as ultimately both are tied to quality of life.


Connect South Fulton has partnered with the United Way of Greater Atlanta to help move the needle on the south Fulton child well-being child well-being crisis. There is a myriad of ways to get involved whether you are an individual, business, municipality, go to the United Way website to get engaged in the Child Well-Being movement



South Fulton has a child well-being crisis with a score of 39.1, the second lowest in the metro area.  That means that nearly 43,000 children are living in areas with low or very low child well-being. The top focused initiatives for the United Way in South Fulton are the following:

  • High School/College and Career Readiness
  • Families not financially stable
  • Cost burdened households (families spending more than 30% of income on housing)


The importance of the issue of our children is best expressed by the standard greeting by Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania there is a standard greeting: “How are the children?” In the business world, it is often said that “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” In our communities, we are only as strong as our most vulnerable.


For more information about child well-being for South Fulton county, contact Vanessa Roussell, United Way of Greater Atlanta County Engagement Director NE Region 404-527-8812


Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. How can you measure childhood well-being without even mentioning family homelessness and the fastest growing age group of people experiencing homelessness — children? The failure of our local governments not only to acknowledge these facts but also to respond with immediate assistance has made the experience of homelessness and life or death reality.
    United Way has been silent on this historic and dramatically increasing emergency in our city, but now to take a position of
    concern for the well-being of our children seems ironic at best. Not even a mention of homelessness . . . .

Send a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *