students

The barriers faced by Black children are severe , the report says. — SUBMITTED PHOTO

Nationally, African-American, American Indian and Latino children face some of the biggest obstacles on the pathway to opportunities. In nearly all states, including Pennsylvania, Black children faced huge barriers, so much so that it should be considered a national crises, according to a report released today.

The report, “2017 Race for Results: Building A Path to Opportunity For All Children,” is a comprehensive analysis on the state of well-being for children of color in the United States. The study was conducted by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a private philanthropic organization out of Baltimore that is devoted to children-at-risk for poor educational, economic, social and health outcomes.

On a scale from one to 1,000 — African-American children in the Commonwealth scored 334.

The Casey Foundation made a commitment to publish “Race for Results” every three years to track progress, with the hope that life chances for students will improve. In 2014, the study found that Black children had an index score that placed them further from opportunity than any other race or ethnicity.

Also, from the findings from 2014, recommendations were suggested that children have opportunities through economic inclusion practices that help shape investments and policy-making. This year’s study focuses on immigrant families.

Approximately 15 percent of African-American children in Pennsylvania are from immigrant families. Although not often discussed, immigrant status is an important issue for Black children, given the influx of those who come from Caribbean islands and African nations, the reported stated.

“Native English speakers have a considerable advantage over non-native English speakers when it comes to grade-level proficiency in reading and math,” said the report.

Eighth graders who are fluent in English are six times more likely to be proficient in math than those who are not, and Black children in immigrant families are more than twice as likely to live with two parents than those in U.S. born families.

The Casey Foundation and the Pennsylvania Partnerships For Children, a social services non-profit, nonpartisan organization located in Harrisburg, are calling on policy change to help increase economic opportunity for parents and to help children meet critical developmental milestones.

The states with the worst scores for Black children were southern states such as Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi; in addition to mid-western states such as Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. Higher scoring states included Idaho, North Dakota, Utah and Massachusetts, though they have small African-American populations.

“Pennsylvania and the nation have some work to do to get all kids on a path to success and ensure all children live in economically successful families, reside in supportive communities and meet developmental, health and educational milestones,” said Joan Benso, the president and CEO of PPC, in a statement. “The data in this report can help Pennsylvania create policies and programs that benefit all children, and help identify areas where targeted strategies and investments are needed.”

Recommendations include keeping children together, help children in immigrant families meet key developmental milestones and increase economic opportunity for immigrant parents.

To view the report visit aecf.org.

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