PNS Daily Newscast - September 24 

Update: A second accuser emerges with misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Also on the Monday rundown: We take you to a state where more than 60,000 kids are chronically absent from school; and we'll let you know why the rural digital divide can be a twofold problem.

Daily Newscasts

Some Maine Kids Facing Racial, Ethnic Roadblocks

Advocates say improving access to opportunities for kids of all backgrounds is important because they represent tomorrow's workforce. (Nesstor42u/Morguefile)
Advocates say improving access to opportunities for kids of all backgrounds is important because they represent tomorrow's workforce. (Nesstor42u/Morguefile)
October 24, 2017

AUGUSTA, Maine – Children of color and those living in immigrant families face persistent challenges that make their road to success more difficult, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The research measures education, health and economic milestones by racial and ethnic groups.

While Maine is not as diverse as other states, the report's co-author and the associate director of policy reform and advocacy at the Foundation, Laura Speer, says major racial disparities exist in educational achievement and family economic security, leading to poorer outcomes for children of color.

"Kids of color especially are often disadvantaged based on where they live," she laments. "That means that the schools that they can attend are often less well resourced and they're less likely to be plugged-in to some of the things that can really make a difference in terms of children's long-term development."

The report noted African-American children in Maine are not faring nearly as well as their white and Latino peers. Speer says improving access to opportunities is important in part because, as the state's population ages, today's kids represent tomorrow's workforce.

Speer says because of the current climate facing parents of Maine's 18,000 kids living in immigrant families, children frequently go without health coverage and food assistance because parents are afraid to ask. She says there are proven policies that help families become more economically secure - which is key to a child's overall well-being including job-placement programs and the Earned Income Tax Credit.

"Work supports like access to child-care subsidies or health care can really help for people who are working in low-wage jobs," she explains. "They often don't have access to things like healthcare from an employer."

The report's recommendations include increasing access to education and healthcare, prioritizing keeping families together when enforcing immigration policy, and increasing economic opportunities and support for parents.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - ME