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November 10, 2015
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Stephanie Hogenson firstname.lastname@example.org 612-978-7365
Opportunities that help children thrive need to be targeted and tailored to children of color and American Indian children to improve outcomes
Saint Paul, Minnesota – Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota (CDF-MN) will release the 2015 Minnesota KIDS COUNT Data Book: Developing Opportunities for All Minnesota Children at its KIDS COUNT Coffee Tour Kick-Off 10:00 a.m. today at Cookie Cart in Minneapolis (1119 West Broadway Avenue). This year’s data book highlights outcomes and opportunities for ensuring success for all Minnesota children, with a focus on children of color and American Indian children. Organized by children’s developmental stages including sections on Prenatal to Birth, Early Childhood, School Age, Adolescence and Young Adulthood, the data book includes indicators of child well-being disaggregated by race and ethnicity and highlights evidence-based interventions that improve outcomes for children. With the number of children of color increasing rapidly across the state — 30 percent of school children are children of color or American Indian — it's imperative that the state focuses on addressing disparities to continue to have a strong workforce and economy.
“Minnesota knows what works to make sure children are successful. For decades we have been leaders in providing children with excellent education, economic stability and access to health coverage and care.” said Stephanie Hogenson, CDF-MN Research and Policy Director. “However, the data shows that children of color and American Indian children are at increased risk for environmental factors that negatively affect their outcomes and have decreased access to opportunities that help them thrive like early childhood education, summer enrichment programs and college and career preparation. To continue to be a prosperous state, Minnesota must focus on increasing and targeting investment and outreach around programs that are proven effective in improving outcomes for children of color and American Indian children.”
The data book shows that disparities start as early as prenatally with American Indian babies and babies of color being far less likely to be born to mothers who received adequate prenatal care. Also, Black and American Indian babies have twice the rate of infant mortality compared to white babies. Early childhood education is proven to have long-term positive effects on academic and health outcomes and an even greater positive effect on children already exposed to risk factors such as poverty, homelessness or those living in foster care. However, fewer than half of all Minnesota children attend preschool and children of color are the least likely to attend — 47 percent of White children attend preschool compared to 40 percent of Asian and Hispanic/Latino and 37 percent of Black children. The lack of access to quality experiences early in life and environmental risk factors compound to increase disparities in later developmental stages and into adulthood. Children of color and American Indian children are less likely to meet math and reading standards, graduate from high school on time, and earn a college degree.
To improve outcomes for lower income children, children of color and American Indian children, the Data Book highlights programs and policies that can reach children and families in each developmental stage to improve their outcomes such as paid family leave, family home visiting, Child Care Assistance, summer and after-school enrichment, work experience and college preparation programs.
“Programs that change the trajectory for children and ensure our future workforce is prepared to succeed already exist and are making a difference in the lives of children and families at each stage of a child’s development,” Hogenson said. “These programs just need to be made more accessible to children of color and American Indian children by targeted outreach, culturally relevant programming, and diverse staff and administrators. Not only will this ensure more children thrive, but also it will reduce more costly remedial interventions such as special education, involvement with the criminal justice system and poor health outcomes that often occur when children can’t access opportunities early in life.”
About the KIDS COUNT Data Book and KIDS COUNT Coffee Tour: Every year, CDF-MN publishes the Minnesota KIDS COUNT Data Book through a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The book provides state data based on a variety of indicators that show the well-being of Minnesota’s children and families. The data serve as benchmarks of child well-being for policymakers and citizens and help to enrich local, state, and national discussions concerning ways to secure better futures for all children. CDF-MN organizes an annual KIDS COUNT Coffee Tour around the release of the book to provide policymakers and citizens from around the state with the opportunity to learn about the data and engage on issues of child well-being.
Detroit Lakes – January 27
Rochester - details to come
Learn more about the KIDS COUNT Data Book here.
CDF-MN is the only nonprofit policy organization in Minnesota to focus solely on the needs of children. To achieve its goals, CDF-MN advocates at the local, state and federal levels on behalf of children and families, and conducts research, outreach and youth development initiatives. The Children’s Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.