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Report: Oregon Must Lift Up Children of Color "Across the Board"

Advocates for child well-being say supporting parents help improve outcomes for children. (SupportPDX/Flickr)
Advocates for child well-being say supporting parents help improve outcomes for children. (SupportPDX/Flickr)
October 24, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. – A new report reveals the persistent disparities for children of color and those in immigrant families, in Oregon 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.

Tonia Hunt, executive director of Children First for Oregon, says children of color and in immigrant families across the board are hurting in the state, and are more likely to be low-income and have lower educational outcomes. She says the state, as well as the rest of the nation, has to face the historical effects of systemic racism.

"It's a simple fact that Oregon is not going to be a great state for our kids until it's a great state for all of our kids," she says. "We all pay the price when we exclude children from opportunity when we don't give equal access to opportunity and to success for kids and families in the state."

Hunt says rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program for people brought to the United States as children is a big barrier for the roughly 11-thousand Oregonians enrolled in it. She says these young people won't be able to thrive if they have to live under the fear of deportation.

Laura Speer, the associate director of policy reform and advocacy at the Casey Foundation, says child well-being is key to the country's future and influenced by kids' environments. She says the nation and its lawmakers must choose policies that make their communities more supportive and healthy.

"Those are things like increasing access to early child care and education and ensuring students are ready for higher education," she explains. "We know that this has a really high return on investment so we need to make sure that's something that we invest in as a country."

Speer says it's also important to improve economic opportunities for parents. She says policies such as paid family leave can help - especially for immigrant parents, the group least likely to have access to paid leave.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR