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NH Gets New Snapshot on How Kids are Doing

April 2, 2014

CONCORD, N.H. - It's a mixed bag in the Granite State for how children of all races are progressing, according to a new report.

New Hampshire measures on par with the national average when it comes to most kids, said Ellen Fineberg, executive director of New Hampshire Kids Count, but there is a big gap when comparing the key indicators of success for children of color.

"We do better than the national average for all kinds of children," she said. "However, the African-American and Latino children in our state lag behind."

The report analyzed a dozen indicators of child well-being. It recommends using this data to make more targeted investments that would yield the greatest improvements for children of color.

The large disparities should concern people of all races, said Laura Speer, an associate director with the Casey Foundation, pointing to Census Bureau projections that show that children of color will represent a majority of American children by 2018.

"They're going to be the future workforce of the United States," she said, "so there's a really critical imperative to look at this now and to see what we can do to improve it."

Fineberg said her group is studying the report's recommendations. They know the state needs to act on some lingering issues and right some past wrongs, she said.

"Children who are African-American and Latino show up in the juvenile justice system in a disproportionately high rate," she said. "So, we need to address issues like that, to ensure that we are treating all children equitably."

Nationwide, the report shows Asian and Pacific Islander children have the highest overall index scores followed by white, Latino, American Indian and African-American children.

The report, "Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children," is available online at aecf.org.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH