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Report: Many Barriers Facing Black Children Should Be ‘A National Crisis’

There is a wide and troubling gap between white and Asian children and the children in the African-American, Latino and Native American communities on wide range of indicators, according to a new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation that shows children of color face far greater barriers to future success.

Called the “Race for Results,” the report compared children in these different communities on 12 indicators, including whether they were born at normal birth weight, if they were enrolled in preschool by the ages of 3 to 5, whether they lived with an adult who has at least a high school diploma, and their proficiency at reading and math during elementary and middle school. The researchers then gave each group a composite score to use for purposes of comparison.

“This first-time index shows that many in our next generation, especially kids of color, are off track in many issue areas and in nearly every region of the country,” said Casey Foundation Chief Executive Officer Patrick McCarthy.

These findings are all the more troubling when you consider that by 2018, the majority of the children in the U.S. will be non-white.

Of all the children in the study, African-American children fared the worst in the study. The report concluded that the conditions of Black children “should be considered a national crisis.”

According to the report, only 18 percent of African-American fourth-graders in U.S.-born families and 7 percent in immigrant families scored at or above “proficient” in reading, with the greatest barriers to success found in Michigan, Wisconsin and across Southern states such as Mississippi and Alabama.

But it was Asians and Pacific Islander children who had the highest overall index score, with white children coming next.

In the teen years, the report found that African-American, American Indian and Latino teens are the least likely to graduate from high school on time, and teenage girls are less likely to delay childbearing than their white and Asian peers.

The study found that the country’s 17.6 million Latino children are the least likely to live in a household where someone has at least a high school diploma, which the study’s authors called an indicator of the “obstacles families of color face in gaining economic security.”

“Overall, the index shows that at the national level, no one racial group has all children meeting all milestones,” the report said. 

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