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Racial Barriers Block Potential for Florida’s Children of Color

Trimmel Gomes

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A new report reveals persistent disparities for children of color and those in immigrant families in Florida and across the country. 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 barriers to success.

Norin Dollard, director of Florida Kids Count, says the report shows the growing gaps between the gains of white children and children of color.

“Our African American children are at the greatest risk and we really need to ensure that we’re helping their parents, you know, to have an education and the skills to have the kinds of jobs that they can support their families, the way we all want to support our families,” she explains. “And they are not getting those opportunities. Hispanic families are in a similar position.”

Despite modest improvements including increases in parental employment and parent education levels, the report shows Florida still has more children living in areas of concentrated poverty than in 2010.

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 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 adds the focus needs to remain on helping children out of poverty, including giving them access to health insurance and their parents access to affordable housing.

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