Those of us with children and grandchildren consider them to be the center of the universe. But to the state and federal lawmakers, business leaders and researchers, a significant number of Orange County’s children simply don’t exist because they are not counted in the national census.

Young children, ages 0 to 5, are undercounted at a higher rate than any other age group in the nation. What few realize is that billions in federal dollars for schools and hospitals are apportioned according to census data, and an accurate count helps to ensure that our children get their fair share of those resources.

As a member of the Orange County Board of Supervisors and a commissioner with First 5 Orange County’s Children & Family’s Commission, I am asking any parent, grandparent, foster parents or legal guardian to ensure this year’s census count is accurate.