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Children of Color, Immigrant Children Still Falling Behind

African-American children in Connecticut ranked 12th in the nation for overall well-being, compared with third for whites. (Pexels/Pixabay)
African-American children in Connecticut ranked 12th in the nation for overall well-being, compared with third for whites. (Pexels/Pixabay)
October 24, 2017

HARTFORD, Conn. – Wide gaps in progress for children of color and immigrant children persist in Connecticut, according to a new report. The "2017 Race for Results" report, from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, ranks the state sixth nationally in an index of children's educational, health and economic well-being.

But according to Emmanuel Adero, a policy analyst at the Connecticut Association for Human Services, there is a sharp divide within those results. He notes that the well-being of Connecticut's white and Asian and Pacific Islander children are both ranked third in the nation.

"The problem is that it's not also third for black and Hispanic kids," he laments. "That's when it drops down, 12th for black and 22nd for Hispanic."

He adds that strong support for early childhood development and family stability are key to helping children achieve their full potential.

This year's report also includes data on children of immigrants. And Laura Speer, the associate director of policy reform and advocacy at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, says nationally, one-in-four of such children live below the federal poverty line.

"Only 47 percent of kids in immigrant families live in households with sufficient income even though the majority of immigrant parents are in the workforce," she says.

In contrast, in Connecticut, 65 percent of children of immigrants live above the poverty line.

But Adero points out that relative family income isn't the only factor at play.

"There are parts of the state where the median income of black families is about equal to that of white families, and you still see black children in schools being suspended at a rate far higher than white students," he notes. "So that's a case where that's not just poverty."

The report recommends adopting policies that help children achieve developmental milestones, increase economic opportunity for parents, and prioritize child well-being in immigration proceedings.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT