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Report: Disparities Greatest for MD's Children of Color

Children's advocates say Maryland's children of immigrant families need equal opportunities to enroll in early-education programs. (woodleywonderworks/Flickr)
Children's advocates say Maryland's children of immigrant families need equal opportunities to enroll in early-education programs. (woodleywonderworks/Flickr)
October 24, 2017

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – A new report reveals the persistent disparities for children of color and those in immigrant families, in Maryland and across the country.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation's "2017 Race for Results" report measures key milestones in child development across racial and ethnic groups. It finds the majority of children, particularly African-American and Hispanic children, aren't meeting proficiency for reading and math.

Nonso Umunna, research director at the Maryland group Advocates for Children and Youth, says more needs to be done to determine how best to help.

"I think an important aspect of this report is that it provides lawmakers, it provides everyone with an ability to look at the challenges that these young immigrant children are facing," he says. "Because they will end up, in the end, a significant population of the youth in this country."

Umunna suggests the state should implement policies that help ensure schools are welcoming places for all families, including those that are bilingual. And the report says supporting immigrant parents should also be a priority, from social services to job training as they navigate their new surroundings and provide for their families.

More than 350,000 Maryland children live in immigrant families.

The report's co-author and the associate director of policy reform and advocacy at the Foundation, Laura Speer, says the nation's future depends on child well-being across all races, and that's influenced by their environments - so, policies are needed to help make communities more supportive and healthy.

"We really spent a lot of time looking at the persistent challenges and the barriers that impede the success of kids of color in our country and have for a very long time," she notes. "And in this report, we also included a look at the barriers that kids in immigrant families face today."

In Maryland, more than 60 percent of children in all but one demographic group live in a two-parent household. Forty-four percent of Maryland's African-American children live with two parents, which experts say can increase family stability.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - MD