PNS Daily Newscast - April 22, 2019 

The vigilante accused of holding migrants at border to appear in court today. Also on our Monday rundown: The US Supreme Court takes up including citizenship questions on the next census this week. Plus, Earth Day finds oceans becoming plastic soup.

Daily Newscasts

CT Ranks High for Children’s Well-Being, but Census Change Raises Concerns

Reading proficiency for Connecticut fourth-grade students has improved, but math proficiency for eighth graders declined. (Wokandapix/Pixabay)
Reading proficiency for Connecticut fourth-grade students has improved, but math proficiency for eighth graders declined. (Wokandapix/Pixabay)
June 27, 2018

HARTFORD, Conn. – The latest figures on the well-being of children show Connecticut ranks seventh in the nation, but children's advocates fear trouble ahead.

In the Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book, Connecticut showed improvement in nine of 16 categories covering economic well-being, education, health, and family and community.

But Laura Speer, the foundation's associate director for policy reform and advocacy, is concerned that including a citizenship question on the 2020 U.S. Census will discourage immigrants from participating and lead to an under-count of young children, endangering federal funding of programs affecting children.

"All people, including kids, have the right to be counted and represented," Speer said. "But without any real political or economic power, kids rely on adults to protect and advocate for them, and they can't fill out the census forms."

Census figures are used to determine levels of federal support for child-focused programs, from school lunches to children's health insurance.

The federal programs are especially important to children living in low-income families. And according to Kayla Goldfarb, policy analyst with the Connecticut Association for Human Services, the data show that's an area where more needs to be done.

"There are no promising declines in child poverty," Goldfarb stated. "We still see persistent levels of concentrated poverty, and we also see a significant number of children living in families facing high housing-cost burdens."

Thirteen percent of Connecticut children live in poverty, the same percentage as in 2010.

With more than 14 million children living in poverty nationwide, and almost 100,000 in Connecticut alone, Speer stressed that getting the census numbers right is critical.

"We want to do right by all kids and make sure that they have strong families, strong communities and the opportunities that will help them to thrive," she said. "And many of the trends that we're seeing are really good. But there's still a lot of work to do."

She pointed out that the under-count of children nationally has worsened with every census since 1980.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - CT