2010-07-09 Diversity Alliance Press Release "New Poll: Adults Working With Youths Say Minority Children Face More Obstacles to Health and Success than White Counterparts"


New Poll: Adults Working With Youths Say Minority Children Face More Obstacles to Health and Success than White Counterparts


Commissioned by W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Survey Finds Fewer Opportunities for Minorities

The Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance Tackling These Obstacles with W.K. Kellogg Foundation through America Healing

Battle Creek, Mich. - Minority children and teenagers have fewer opportunities than white counterparts to be healthy, obtain a quality education and achieve economic success, according to a national survey of adults whose jobs involve children's education, health and economic well-being. The groundbreaking poll was released today by the independent W. K. Kellogg Foundation, which sought to gauge the level of disparities affecting children of color.

Researchers with C.S. Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan polled more than 2,000 adults, such as teachers, childcare providers, healthcare workers, social workers and law enforcement officials. Their findings indicate that African American, Latino, Native American/Alaska Native, Asian American/Pacific Islanders and Arab American children from birth to age 8, as well as teenagers ages 13 to 18, face diminished opportunities that reduce their chances to succeed.

"This is the first known national assessment of health, educational and economic opportunities for children, as reported by individuals at the community level who can affect such opportunities through their work," said Dr. Gail Christopher, vice president for Programs at the Kellogg Foundation. "The results clearly establish that children and teenagers of color face significant disadvantages, many of which are the result of structural racism."

In May, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation launched America Healing, a $75 million, five-year initiative that is addressing the devastating impact of structural racism on communities and aims to improve life outcomes for vulnerable children and families. The Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance will be using the grant to fund programs for youth and adults that promote greater understanding and appreciation for diversity and advance socially and economically sustainable INTEGRATED communities.

"Providing minorities with more opportunities for better health, education and life outcomes is ingrained in the work the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity does," said Gail Harrison, Executive Director. "We are thankful for national organizations like the W.K. Kellogg Foundation who are funding works to address racial inequities. Their poll further shows the need to create more opportunities for minority children and teenagers."

Throughout the survey, respondents said children and teenagers from low-income families have considerably fewer opportunities than those from specific racial and ethnic groups. Furthermore, the poll also identified many key areas where white children and teenagers have more opportunities than minority youths:

  • 46 percent of respondents said white teenagers have lots of opportunity to receive quality care for mental health issues, but only 31 percent said Latinos have the same opportunities, 32 percent said African Americans do, 35 percent said American Indian/Alaska Natives do, 36 percent said Arab Americans did and 37 percent said Asian American/Pacific Islanders do.

  • 55 percent of respondents said white children have lots of opportunity to access quality healthcare, but only 41 percent said the same for Latino, Arab American and American Indian/Alaska Native children, and 45 percent said the same for African American and Asian American/Pacific Islander children.

  • 60 percent of respondents said white children have lots of opportunity to grow up in communities that support children, while 36 percent said Arab American children have the same opportunities, 43 percent said Latino and African American children have the same opportunities, 44 percent said American Indian/Alaska Native children have the same opportunities and 47 percent said Asian American/Pacific Islander children have the same opportunities.
"These results are alarming because the inequities within a given community are so clearly visible to people who work with children and families," said Matthew Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P., who directed the study and is Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases in the CHEAR Unit at the University of Michigan Medical School. "Because they see firsthand the education and health opportunities for children in the communities where they work, they have a different perspective than parents or policymakers. Their views are absolutely essential to improving opportunities for young children at the community level."

The poll respondents included 2,028 adults from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, ranging in age from 18-65. Of the respondents, 71 percent were white, 12 percent African American, 7 percent Hispanic, 3 percent Asian American/Pacific Islander and the remainder from other racial and ethnic groups. Respondents were all members of KnowledgePanel, a nationally representative Web-enabled panel of adult members of households recruited by Knowledge Networks. Knowledge Networks engages all of its panel members via the Internet (current panel size is approximately 50,000).

"This poll will serve as our baseline for assessing whether America Healing, coupled with the work of many others, is succeeding at providing minority children and their families with more opportunities for a better life," said Dr. Christopher.

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Data in the above release is based on responses from adults working in a wide variety of occupations that affect children's opportunities at the community level. The most common occupation groups were: teaching (includes early childhood, elementary, and secondary) 25%, healthcare (including mental health) 19%, business owner or manager 6%, childcare / early childhood education 6% and non-elected government office or agency 6%. Over a 10-day project period, more than 9,700 panel members aged 18-65 and currently employed were invited to participate in the project. The participation rate was 56%. Participants then completed screening questions; 37% of participants identified themselves as having occupations that affect children and were therefore "screened-in" and met the qualifying conditions to complete the survey. Among respondents, 1,516 selected one or more of the pre-set job categories and 512 wrote in "other" occupations as relevant for children. Data collection and analysis was completed in late April 2010.
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