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Barriers Persist for Maryland's Children of Color

The 2018 KIDS COUNT Count Data Book reports that 15 percent of Maryland's kids are at risk of being overlooked as people are counted for the 2020 U.S. Census. (Pixabay)
The 2018 KIDS COUNT Count Data Book reports that 15 percent of Maryland's kids are at risk of being overlooked as people are counted for the 2020 U.S. Census. (Pixabay)
June 27, 2018

BALTIMORE – A new report measuring the well-being of Maryland's kids continues to show a gap between children of color and their white peers.

The 2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows Maryland's children and youths are faring slightly better in four nationally ranked areas, including health, education, economic well-being and family and community.

However, in those areas where the research shows gains – giving the state its ranking of 14th overall – children of color still fall behind. In terms of economic well-being, African-American children have lived in poverty at more than twice the rate of their white counterparts in Maryland since 2008.

Nonso Umunna, research director at Advocates for Children and Youth, says 64,000 kids live at income levels known as high poverty today, an increase of 25 percent.

"And I think if we're able to address issues that relate to children of color, that should help improve our ranking because they are an important population to look at," says Umunna.

Umunna says the state still needs federal funds to help address the disparities that children of color and children in under-resourced communities are facing.

Another concern is data showing 15 percent of Maryland's kids are at risk of being under-counted in the upcoming 2020 Census, which jeopardizes federally funded support that has helped propel the gains.

Laura Speer, associate director for policy reform and advocacy with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, says if they're missed in the national count, children of color and those in low-income and immigrant families, stand to suffer the most.

"It's important that we step up to make sure that kids of all races and ethnicities are counted in the census, and that they will have what they need to thrive," she said.

More than 55 percent of Maryland's federal allotment for social programs goes toward the Medical Assistance Program or Medicaid for Children, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The full report is online at aecf.org.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - MD