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Risks To Child Well-Being Remain Concentrated In Pockets Of NYC Amid Citywide Improvements

Released December 12, 2017

For Immediate Release: December 12, 2017
Elysia Murphy (212) 673-1800 x18 emurphy@cccnewyork.org

New report ranks city’s 59 community districts and highlights neighborhoods where children continue to face significant risks to long-term well-being

New York – A new report released today by Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York (CCC) reveals that the well-being of New York City’s children continues to improve in the wake of the Great Recession, but that those improvements aren’t reaching all children, with multiple risk factors still present in pockets of New York City. The south Bronx, central Brooklyn, and upper Manhattan continue to have the highest levels of risk, while eastern parts of the Bronx, eastern parts of Queens, and the north shore of Staten Island have experienced elevated levels of risk, even in areas where citywide trends are positive.

CCC’s annual Community Risk Ranking, which measures 18 indicators across six domains of child well-being (economic security, housing, health, education, youth, and family and community) found that from 2010 to 2015, New York City experienced citywide improvements overall and across domains including declining child poverty rates, infant mortality rates, teen birth rates, and violent felony rates, and increasing median incomes and graduation rates. However, the report, which ranks the city’s 59 community districts based on these domains, demonstrates how children and families in some communities continue to experience multiple risk factors that could impact their immediate and long-term well-being, despite progress made citywide. This year’s report is taking a special focus on the differences from 2010 to 2015, the most recent year that all indicators are available, to illustrate how community risk levels have changed in the years since the height of the Great Recession.

“When we look at the status of child well-being in New York City, we see clear signs of progress citywide since the economic downturn. But not every community is benefiting from this rising tide,” said Jennifer March, Executive Director of CCC. “In fact, we see children in particular communities falling behind, so we need to build on the efforts already underway and enact policy solutions that will make New York City a fairer and more just city for its children and families.”

For example, the Bronx districts of Hunts Point, Mott Haven, East Tremont, Morrissania, University Heights, and Concourse/Highbridge remained in the highest risk overall category in the years examined. The report also reveals how adjacent communities in the eastern portion of the Bronx —

Unionport/Soundview, Throgs Neck, Pelham Parkway, and Williamsbridge — have increased in risk level, with Unionport/Soundview moving to the highest risk category overall.

The report also calls attention to the North Shore of Staten Island, which has not recovered from the effects of the recession at the same pace as the city overall, with child poverty, infant mortality and youth unemployment increasing. Even in areas of improvement, such as the teen birth rate, trends have not kept pace with citywide improvements.

CCC’s analysis of each borough also illustrates how in some communities where positive changes have occurred, children and families continue to face significant challenges:

  • Central Harlem experienced improvements in economic security, housing stability, teen birth rates, and violent felony rates. At the same time, negative trends have occurred including a significant reduction in the number of families accessing early childhood education services and Central Harlem public schools falling further behind citywide reading and Math test scores.
  • Bushwick experienced improvements in parental employment instability and the number of families entering homeless shelters, as well as a decrease in the share of adults without a high school diploma. However, Bushwick’s child poverty rate and median family income remained unchanged even as progress along those indicators occurred citywide.
  • While Flushing fared comparatively well in economic conditions and overall, the community experienced the highest share of children without health insurance in 2015, as well as reductions in families accessing early childhood education services, and experiencing increased rent burden.

New York City has the largest population of children in the country and the actions taken locally to address the needs of the city’s youngest and most vulnerable residents have the potential to raise the bar on efforts to strengthen outcomes and combat disparities nationwide.

“Our hope is that this analysis will provide the foundation for conversations around what more we can do to make sure that children and families in every community in NYC flourish,” said Apurva Mehrotra, CCC Director of Research and Data Analysis.

CCC is proposing several solutions that would build on the efforts underway to build a fairer more just city for New York’s children and families, and our city as a whole:

  • Expand access to affordable family-based and center-based child care for infants and toddlers.
  • Promote an integrated Pre-K for All system serving all race, ethnicity and income groups and invest in salary parity for similarly licensed and credentialed teachers and staff.
  • Leverage incentives to create parks and playgrounds, and bring food retail and community services to new affordable housing developments.
  • Expand universal after-school to elementary school students and provide summer programming across the city for all programs.
  • Offer reduced-priced MetroCards for low income New Yorkers and create transportation alternatives in hard to reach communities.
  • Address the needs of homeless children and their parents — strengthen prevention; increase investments to provide appropriate and comprehensive services to children and families while they are in shelter; and connect families to permanent housing options with needed supports.
  • Expand community-based capacity to ensure timely access to health and mental services and promote multi-generational approaches to wellness.
  • Deepen and broaden New York City’s local Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Care Tax Credit.
  • Stand ready to draw upon local lessons learned in previous fiscal crises to ensure that the needs of children and families are met.

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