National, State Scorecard on Children’s Progress Shows Persistent Obstacles to Reaching Milestones

Posted April 1, 2014
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Newsrelease New National State Scorecard 2014

America’s future pros­per­i­ty depends on our abil­i­ty to pre­pare all chil­dren to achieve their full poten­tial in life. Amid rapid demo­graph­ic changes, a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion shows we have much ground to cov­er to ensure that all kids – espe­cial­ly chil­dren of col­or – are posi­tioned to thrive.

The KIDS COUNT® pol­i­cy report, Race for Results: Build­ing a Path to Oppor­tu­ni­ty for All Chil­dren, unveils the new Race for Results index, which com­pares how chil­dren are pro­gress­ing on key mile­stones across racial and eth­nic groups at the nation­al and state lev­el. The data can assist lead­ers who cre­ate poli­cies and pro­grams that ben­e­fit all chil­dren, and iden­ti­fy areas where tar­get­ed strate­gies and invest­ments are needed.

By 2018, chil­dren of col­or will rep­re­sent the major­i­ty of chil­dren in the Unit­ed States. The report high­lights seri­ous con­cerns that African-Amer­i­can, Lati­no, Native Amer­i­can and some sub­groups of Asian-Amer­i­can chil­dren face pro­found bar­ri­ers to suc­cess – and calls for an urgent, mul­ti-sec­tor approach to devel­op solutions.

This first-time index shows that many in our next gen­er­a­tion, espe­cial­ly kids of col­or, are off track in many issue areas and in near­ly every region of the coun­try,” said Patrick McCarthy, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Casey Foun­da­tion. Race for Results is a call to action that requires seri­ous and sus­tained atten­tion from the pri­vate, non­prof­it, phil­an­thropic and gov­ern­ment sec­tors to cre­ate equi­table oppor­tu­ni­ties for chil­dren of col­or, who will play an increas­ing­ly large role in our nation’s well-being and prosperity.”

The index is based on 12 indi­ca­tors that mea­sure a child’s suc­cess in each stage of life, from birth to adult­hood. The indi­ca­tors were cho­sen based on the goal that all chil­dren should grow up in eco­nom­i­cal­ly suc­cess­ful fam­i­lies, live in sup­port­ive com­mu­ni­ties and meet devel­op­men­tal, health and edu­ca­tion­al mile­stones. To com­pare results across the areas in the index, the indi­ca­tors are grouped into four areas: ear­ly child­hood; edu­ca­tion and ear­ly work; fam­i­ly sup­ports; and neigh­bor­hood context.

Over­all, the index shows that at the nation­al lev­el, no one racial group has all chil­dren meet­ing all mile­stones. Using a sin­gle com­pos­ite score placed on a scale of one (low­est) to 1,000 (high­est), Asian and Pacif­ic Islander chil­dren have the high­est index score at 776 fol­lowed by white chil­dren at 704. Scores for Lati­no (404), Amer­i­can-Indi­an (387) and African-Amer­i­can (345) chil­dren are dis­tress­ing­ly low­er, and this pat­tern holds true in near­ly every state.

Race for Results pro­vides a high-lev­el but nuanced look at chil­dren in each racial demo­graph­ic and some of the con­di­tions that explain their cir­cum­stances,” said Lau­ra Speer, asso­ciate direc­tor of pol­i­cy reform and advo­ca­cy at the Casey Foun­da­tion. We see that where a child lives mat­ters and that in near­ly every state, African-Amer­i­can, Amer­i­can Indi­an and Lati­no chil­dren have some of the steep­est obsta­cles to over­come. Our analy­sis also clear­ly demon­strates that grow­ing up in an immi­grant fam­i­ly can have a sig­nif­i­cant impact on access to opportunity.”

For African-Amer­i­can chil­dren, the sit­u­a­tion is dire. In gen­er­al, states in the Rust Belt and the Mis­sis­sip­pi Delta are places where oppor­tu­ni­ty for black chil­dren is poor­est. African-Amer­i­can kids face the great­est bar­ri­ers to suc­cess in Michi­gan, Mis­sis­sip­pi and Wisconsin.

The report finds there are clear dif­fer­ences in the extent to which bar­ri­ers to suc­cess exist for dif­fer­ent sub­groups of Asian chil­dren and for Lati­nos. Although Asian-Amer­i­can chil­dren scored the high­est on the well-being indi­ca­tors, chil­dren of South­east Asian descent (Burmese, Hmong, Laot­ian, Cam­bo­di­an and Viet­namese) face bar­ri­ers on the path­way to eco­nom­ic sta­bil­i­ty. For Lati­nos, kids from Mex­i­co and Cen­tral Amer­i­ca face the biggest bar­ri­ers to success.

The report makes four pol­i­cy rec­om­men­da­tions to help ensure that all chil­dren and their fam­i­lies achieve their full potential:

  • Gath­er and ana­lyze racial and eth­nic data to inform polices and deci­sion making;
  • Uti­lize data and impact assess­ment tools to tar­get invest­ments to yield the great­est impact for chil­dren of color;
  • Devel­op and imple­ment promis­ing and proven pro­grams and prac­tices focused on improv­ing out­comes for chil­dren and youth of col­or; and
  • Inte­grate strate­gies that explic­it­ly con­nect vul­ner­a­ble groups to new jobs and oppor­tu­ni­ties in eco­nom­ic and work­force development.

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