April 01, 2021

LAWT News Service


Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) released its annual State of America’s Children report that captures the dire conditions many young people, particularly children of color, are facing. The 86-page report offers a comprehensive overview of the well-being of children, including those in California, to inform discussions around policy and legislative prescriptions to support the advancement of children across the country. The report also shows that even before COVID-19, Black and Brown children have been disproportionately impacted by poverty, and this global pandemic is only exacerbating the situation.

“This report outlines the untenable consequences children must bear when we as a country continue not to prioritize their welfare,” said Shimica Gaskins, executive director of Children’s Defense Fund-California, a state office of CDF. "Despite children making up such a large portion of our population, less than 7.5 percent of federal spending went towards children in the 2020 fiscal year. “

The State of America’s Children 2021 report comes at a critical time, as the nation’s children continue to struggle through the pandemic and economic downturn of the last year. The report offers the clearest evidence to support the inclusion of robust, targeted assistance for children in the American Rescue Plan Act passed earlier this month, which builds on prior efforts to provide relief for children and families, works to address the economic and racial injustices COVID-19 has exacerbated.

Legislative priorities championed by Children’s Defense Fund-California are vital for the children—particularly poor, Black, Brown and Indigenous children of color—struggling to survive under conditions that have been laid bare during the coronavirus crisis, and the report makes clear that critical investments must be extended, strengthened, and made permanent to achieve CDF-CA’s vision of a state where marginalized children flourish, leaders prioritize their well-being, and communities wield the power to ensure they thrive.

Key California findings include:

Child Poverty: In 2019, 16 percent of California children—1,363,574—were poor. This includes:

• More than 1 in 4 (26 percent) Black children and more than 1 and 5 (21 percent) Hispanic children were poor compared to 7 percent of White children

• 16 percent of children under the age of 6 were poor

• 6 percent of children were extremely poor (family income below half the poverty level)

Income and Wealth Inequality: The gap between the rich and poor in California continues to rise.

• $123,500 was the median income for white families with children compared with $58,800 for Black and $57,600 for Hispanic families in 2019.

• 2.8 full-time jobs at minimum wage were needed for a family to afford a two-bedroom rental unite at fair market rent in FY2020

Child Health: Our children have lost the health coverage they need to survive and thrive at an alarming rate.

• 334,034 children under age 19 were uninsured in 2019.

• 4,874,521 children ages 0-18 were enrolled in Medi-Cal and Children’s Health Insurance programs in 2019

Education Equity: Schools have slipped backwards into patterns of deep racial and socioeconomic segregation, perpetuating achievement gaps.

• 82 percent of Black, 78 percent of Hispanic and 51 percent of White 4th grade public school students were not proficient in reading in 2019.

• 90 percent of Black, 81 percent of Hispanic and 55 percent of White 8th grade public school students were not proficient in reading in 2019

Youth Justice: A disproportionate number of children of color are incarcerated in the juvenile justice, placing them at risk of physical and psychological harm.

• 5,463 children were in residential placement in 2017.

• 26 percent were black and 56 percent were Hispanic, compared to 14 percent White

“This data represents 1.3 million of our children here in California and calls us to make bold action and radical transformation,” Gaskins said. “CDF-CA will continue stand up until every child has the support they need to thrive.”

To review the full report, visit: https://www.childrensdefense.org/state-of-americas-children/?utm_source=state-offices&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=soac2021


Category: Education