A national study looking at the welfare of children shows that children of color tend to fall behind their white peers in measurements of milestones of success. The Annie E. Casey study compared children in 12 measures of success, including birth weight, attendance of pre-k programs, and the completion of a secondary degree by the age of 29.
Results in Utah tend to reflect the rest of the nation. Terry Haven with Voices for Utah Children, a group involved in study, says children of color are over-represented in negative outcomes.
“For white kids in Utah, 34 percent of our kids are living below 200 percent of poverty. For Latino kids it’s 72 percent. So, quite a big difference between the Latino community children and white children,” Haven said.
However, Haven does point out that percentages can be a little deceiving. Because a majority of children in the state are white, nearly 100,000 more white children live below 200 percent of poverty than Latino children in the state—showing that improvement needs to be made for all children.
“What I think the report showcases is this notion that we need to make sure that every child in Utah has the same kinds of opportunities, regardless of what color their skin is, regardless of what neighborhood they’re living in, regardless of where they grew up," Haven said. "How do we make sure every child gets to where they’re going with equal opportunities?"
Haven said she thinks policies that emphasizes early childhood education and reading proficiency will help minimize the gap.
She adds that securing opportunities for minority children in the state is complex, and will take family orientated effort that create greater economic stability—a key to improving many of the milestone measurements.
One area Utah exceeded the rest of the nation in was the success of black children, where Utah had the third highest ranking in success.