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Report Outlines Racial, Ethnic Disparities Among KY Kids

African-American children are facing the greatest barriers to success, according to new research. (Pixabay)
African-American children are facing the greatest barriers to success, according to new research. (Pixabay)
October 24, 2017

FRANKFORT, Ky. – During a time of intense national conversations on race and immigration, a new report reveals the barriers to success children from immigrant families and children of color are facing in Kentucky and other states.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation's "2017 Race for Results" report measures key milestones in child development across racial and ethnic groups. In Southern states especially, African-American children are facing the greatest obstacles to prosperity.

Terry Brooks, the executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, says a single group cannot afford to be left out of the common good.

"We as a Commonwealth can't afford to just be colorblind; we have to be color brave," he says. "We have to be able to talk about differences that can't be excused and can't be overlooked without talking about racial disparities."

For key childhood milestones among the states, Kentucky ranks 29nd in opportunities for African-American children, 20th for Latino children and 26th for Asian and Pacific Islander children. To improve outcomes for these groups, the report recommends expanding access to education and healthcare and increasing economic opportunities for parents.

The report comes as federal leaders consider changes to the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, that could affect 800,000 young people who were brought to this country as children.

Laura Speer, the associate director of policy reform and advocacy at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, says curbing what amounts to a national crisis requires corrective policies to help ensure all children and their families reach their full potential.

"There are more than 18 million children who are themselves immigrants or who have at least one parent who was born outside of the country," she notes. "That's about one in four kids. Their success is really very closely connected to the future success of our country."

Speer says children do better when they are kept with their families in their communities, and the report recommends that when immigration policy is enforced, keeping families together is prioritized. About 77,000 children live in immigrant families in Kentucky.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - KY