Report: Outcomes for black children should be considered ‘a national crisis’ – Indianapolis Star

Outcomes for black children in the United States should be considered “a national crisis,” according to a Kids Count report released today that also shows Hoosier children, in general, lag behind those in other states.

The 2017 Race for Results report, published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, examined outcomes relating to health, education and the economy. It found the outcomes for many children of color lag behind those for white youth when it comes to indicators such as the percentage living in poverty and proficiency in reading and math.

Those indicators are important, according to the report, because they translate into access to opportunities later in life. And while there has been improvement in the majority of indicators since 2014, gaps remain.

Tami Silverman, president and CEO of the Indiana Youth Institute, said she hopes the report will spur the public to talk about ways to ensure all children receive equitable educations.

“If we look beyond today,” she said, “if you look beyond what’s good for my kids or the kids who go to my children’s school, where’s Indiana headed? What’s good for all of us? We need each and every child to be living up to their full potential.”

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Indiana lags behind other states when it comes to outcomes for most youth.

The state ranked 36th out of 44 participating states in outcomes for black children, with an index score of 318 out of 1,000, according to the report. The state ranked 28th out of 49 states in outcomes for Latino youth, with an index score of 424. Outcomes for white children in Indiana received an index score of 664 and ranked 37th of 50 states. Outcomes for Indiana children of Asian or Pacific Islander descent ranked 16th out of 43 states, with an index score of 780.

Gaps in reading proficiency and income played a role in those scores.

Seventy-eight percent of black fourth-graders and 71 percent of Latino fourth-graders in Indiana are not proficient in reading, compared to 56 percent of the state’s white fourth-graders, according to the Indiana Youth Institute.

Hoosier children of color also are more likely to live in high-poverty areas, according to the Indiana Youth Institute. Seventy-two percent of black children and 67 percent of Latino youth live in low-income households — defined as having a household income of less than $49,200 per year for a family of four — compared to less than 40 percent of white and Asian children.

The report also said a family’s immigration status can affect children’s outcomes.

Detention and deportation policies have “created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation,” according to the report. A fear of immigration enforcement officers, according to the report, can prevent children and families from going to work, driving and attending school or church.

More than 5 million children who are U.S. citizens have an undocumented parent, the report states.

Forty-eight percent of parents of children in immigrant families are U.S. citizens. Another 31 percent of parents are permanent residents or have some other legal status, according to the report.

Ninety-five percent of children in immigrant families live with parents who have been in the U.S. for more than five years. Most have parents who have lived in the United States for at least 20 years.

Eighty-eight percent of children in immigrant families are citizens either because they were born in the United States or they became naturalized citizens, according to the report.

Silverman said Indiana needs all children to succeed and contribute to society. 

“There is absolutely not going to be a quick fix,” Silverman said. “This is something that is going to be an ongoing conversation. It needs to be an ongoing conversation.”

Call IndyStar reporter Marisa Kwiatkowski at (317) 444-6135. Follow her on Twitter: @IndyMarisaK.

 

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