In 1993, King County Children and Family Commission's Healthy Communities Project was established in response to three budget provisos from the King County Council. The purpose was to create a process among members of the public, Commission members, elected officials and County employees to develop a vision of a healthy community for King County's children and families and identify concrete ways of evaluating our progress toward that vision.
In 2000, after an extensive process of indicator selection and development and the formation of a core group of partners, the first Communities Count report was issued. Additional reports followed in 2002 and 2005. Since the initiative began, it has gained momentum with an increase in partners, media attention, and policy influence. Reports will be developed and issued every three years to track progress and identify areas for intervention. Communities Count is one of the best established and most highly regarded indicator report projects in the country and has been identified numerous times as a good example of public health agencies measuring the socio-ecological determinants of health. While the initiative is notable for its attention to sustainability and involvement of multiple sectors, a consistent commitment to and success in involving county residents is its most impressive accomplishment. The reports provide a picture of the issues that most concern residents of the county, and lead to changes in both understanding of the social factors that determine health and policy, and funding decisions that address those social factors.