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April 21, 2015

New Jersey Kids Count report now considers race

Black, Hispanic, mixed-race children struggling in many areas

Black, Hispanic and mixed-race children in New Jersey are more likely to have poorer health, live in poverty, struggle in school and be involved in the state child protection and juvenile justice systems, according to the New Jersey Kids Count 2015 report released Monday.

For the first time, the report by Advocates for Children of New Jersey included a special section with statistics on child well-being broken down by race. Race is an important factor to address as children of color make up a larger share of all New Jersey children. Nearly half are black, Hispanic, Asian, another race or a mixture of races, according to the report.

“It is important to take a closer look at the well-being of children of different races to inform honest, respectful and widespread public discussion to arrive at concrete solutions that can address the disparities that exist among children of different races,” Cecilia Zalkind, executive director of Advocates for Children of New Jersey, said in a statement.

The report found that one-third of black children and 29 percent of Hispanic children lived below the poverty line in 2013, compared to 6 percent of Asian children and 8 percent of white children. 

Black and Hispanic children had the lowest passing rates in schools, while Asian and black children were most likely to lack health coverage. In 2014, 42 percent of the New Jersey children in foster care were black, compared to 30 percent for white children and 20 percent for Hispanic children.

“The statistics in this special section are sobering,” Zalkind added. “They point to an urgent need to formulate public policy and secure investments that can help address these inequities that prevent all children from reaching their full potential.”

Read the full report.