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Immigrant Kids, Children of Color Face Barriers to Success

Advocates say for New Hampshire to stay a great place to live, children need the chance to reach their fullest potential. (Pixabay)
Advocates say for New Hampshire to stay a great place to live, children need the chance to reach their fullest potential. (Pixabay)
October 24, 2017

CONCORD, N.H. – During a time of intense national conversations on race and immigration, a new report reveals the barriers to success children from immigrant families and children of color are facing in New Hampshire and other states.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation's "2017 Race for Results" report found that despite some progress, immigrant families earn about 20 percent less than U.S. born families, and one-in-four children in immigrant families live below the poverty line.

Rebecca Woitkowski, a coordinator of Early Childhood Policy with New Futures, says these kids need stability in order to succeed.

"We do have a growingly more diverse group of children and, if we find that immigrant children are achieving at a lower rate or there are obstacles, it gives us an opportunity to direct our resources to those areas so we can improve overall outcomes," she explains.

To improve outcomes, the report suggests expanding access to education and healthcare, prioritizing keeping families together when enforcing immigration policy, and increasing economic opportunities for parents. Approximately 28,000 children in New Hampshire live in immigrant families.

The report's co-author and the associate director of policy reform and advocacy at the Foundation, Laura Speer, says tax credits, low-cost child care and paid-family leave are among policies that help parents balance work and raising a family.

"It's really important to focus on policies and programs that improve opportunities for low-income workers and address the needs of parents and kids," she says. "These folks are not just workers, they're also parents."

Woitkowski adds for New Hampshire to stay a great place to live, children need the chance to reach their fullest potential.

"Policymakers have an opportunity and an obligation to ensure that all of New Hampshire's children are thriving now and in the future," she stresses. "And investing in early-childhood development opportunities that will particularly benefit children of color and immigrant children is really important."

The report ranks New Hampshire fifth for Asian and Pacific Islander children and sixth for Latino children among states on its index score measuring key milestones in child development, including education and family resources.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - NH