Our health is impacted by several factors outside of those that are strictly medical. Conditions such as where we were born, educational background, work experience, race and culture, and social class all impact our health. These socioeconomic conditions are known as social determinants of health.

Understanding the social determinants of health can help us understand the broader forces that lead to inequitable child and family well-being outcomes. For example, families from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds and families living in poverty face challenges that hinder their access to healthy living and working conditions. An equitable child welfare system promotes policy and system changes that create equitable opportunities for all families. This involves looking at the root causes of system involvement and prioritizing upstream prevention by connecting families with economic and concrete supports before system involvement becomes necessary.

The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion identifies five key social determinants of health: economic stability, education access and quality, health-care access and quality, neighborhood and built environment, and social and community context. 

Explore the following resources to understand how social determinants of health impact child and family outcomes and well-being.

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