"D" Grade for California on Children's Well-Being: Report
Thursday, January 13, 2022
A new report shows California's 13.5 million children are suffering in the wake of the pandemic.
It gives the state low marks on child care, foster care, mental-health supports and preventive health screenings. The new 2022 California Children's Report Card from the nonprofit Children Now showed children of color, in particular, are likely to absorb toxic levels of stress.
Harold Goldstein, executive director of Public Health Advocates, a statewide research and advocacy organization, noted the suicide rate for teens of color has shot up in the wake of police killings, worsening poverty, and separation from friends during COVID.
"The suicide rate among Black young people has doubled in the past six years and continues on a very troubling upward trajectory."
According to the report, only about one in four infants with Medi-Cal coverage got a well-baby checkup in 2019. And children's doctor visits have dropped significantly in the pandemic.
On the plus side, California gets "A" grades for getting kids covered by health insurance, regardless of immigration status, and for putting record funding toward transitional kindergarten for all four-year-olds.
However, Goldstein added, the state gets low grades for a lack of affordable child care and low rates of pay for caregivers.
"If skilled, quality childcare isn't available to young children, they can be harmed, and it's going to impact them for the rest of their life," Goldstein contended.
The report authors also concluded California needs to work harder to find stable homes for foster kids, with nearly 40% being placed in three or more homes during a two-year period.
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