WaTasha Barnes Griffin to be Keynote at State of the Child Conference on March 20th

Watasha Barnes Griffin. Photo providedWatasha Barnes Griffin. Photo provided

By Juli Metzger—

MUNCIE, IN—Join the Indiana Youth Institute for an expert analysis of the latest child-focused data Wednesday, March 20 at Muncie’s annual State of the Child conference.

This year, the event features WaTasha Barnes Griffin as its keynote speaker. “I Am this Data,” is a personal reflection of how one life is impacted by engaged family and community.

“We all read the statistics about low third-grade reading levels, a propensity for teen suicide and the explosive mental health crisis and I see the world I grew up in.  Were it not for my family and my community, my life would have most definitely gone a different way.”

Barnes Griffin is President and CEO of YWCA Central Indiana, President of Muncie’s Chapter of Black EXPO and member of the Muncie Community School Board.

State of the Child, a series of town-hall style discussions, explores what the data means and why it matters.

Register here for Muncie’s State of the Child. Seating is limited to 150. For those who cannot attend, the event watch the livestream here.

IYI researchers will present the 2024 KIDS COUNT® Data Book , and provide a nuanced understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing Indiana’s kids.

Tami Silverman, IYI’s CEO will lead her team as they weigh in on what the latest numbers say about Indiana youth.

“There’s much to be encouraged by in the data,” Silverman says. “Compared to the country, the State of Indiana has fewer children living in poverty, fewer whose parents lack secure employment, and fewer living in households with a high housing cost burden. The number of children without health insurance is down to 6 percent. Food insecurity is down. The State of the Child is good in Indiana, but not good enough.

“According to the Data Book 60 percent of Hoosier children ages 3 and 4 were not in school. Nearly 60 percent of third through eighth graders were not proficient in language arts and a similar number of third through eighth graders were not proficient in math.”

The event starts with a continental breakfast at 8 a.m. at the Ball State University’s Alumni Center. The program goes 8:30 -10:30 a.m.

The Indiana Youth Institute is a leading advocate and voice for the state’s youth worker field. They provide innovative trainings, critical data, and capacity-building resources, aiming every effort at increasing the well-being of all children.


Juli Metzger is an Indiana Youth Institute board member.