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New Report Highlights Disparities in Education, Health and Income Across Greater Washington

March 30, 2020

Just-Released Capital Kids Report from Venture Philanthropy Partners and Child Trends presents comprehensive look at child and youth well-being across the DMV

Washington D.C., March 31—New data from the Capital Kids Report reveals that the Greater Washington region’s youth continue to face large disparities in income, health, education and other life outcomes. These disparities will likely make it more difficult for certain populations of youth to recover from the pending (coronavirus-related) economic downturn.

Regional philanthropy Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP) worked with Child Trends to develop the 2020 Capital Kids Report, focusing on DC, Virginia and Maryland. This report is the most comprehensive look at children and young adults in the region, analyzing more than 100 key indicators of well-being.

“When it comes to children and youth, you can’t look at just one issue and understand the full story. Take education, for example. A child might not graduate because they were absent too often–but they may have missed so many days because they were hungry, or didn’t have the right mental health resources,” said Carol Thompson Cole, VPP president and CEO. “By looking at data within larger themes, we build a real understanding about our children’s well-being and what they need.”

Given that many local families move frequently, may work in one jurisdiction while living in another, and the region is facing the suburbanization of poverty, the report applies a holistic, regional lens to the challenges confronting our youth today. VPP and its partners hope to fuel an action-oriented conversation among all stakeholders across the DMV.

The findings include:

  • Children in the region are becoming more racially and ethnically diverse, and nearly half of them are children of immigrants
  • Greater Washington is lagging behind the nation in decreasing child poverty in many jurisdictions
  • The education achievement gap persists, and in some cases, has worsened; data shows the gap between White students and Black and Latinx students hasn’t improved over the past 10 years, despite different educational initiatives across the region
  • Thousands of children across the region aren’t enrolled in schools but current data are not robust enough to fully explain their absence, raising concerns that institutional or personal barriers, faulty data, or some combination of these factors may be to blame
  • Access to early learning programs is inconsistent across the DMV; while the number of 3- and 4-year olds enrolled in early learning programs jumped nearly 30 percent in Falls Church, Virginia, it increased 1 percent in DC and decreased in areas like Loudoun and Prince George’s
  • Race continues to be heavily correlated to birth outcomes across the region; infant mortality has not improved substantially for Black and Latinx babies, while it has for White infants
  • More children have health insurance than eight years ago

The report’s goal is to help leaders in philanthropy, government and business understand the barriers and opportunities shaping our children’s futures, and to challenge them to consider the transient nature of the region when creating programs and policies. For example, considering the increase in the area’s immigrant population, leaders and policymakers must create and adapt services to meet the needs this increase represents.

“This report provides leaders across the Greater Washington region with a roadmap for ways they can directly improve the lives of children in our region and contribute to its prosperity,” said Carol Emig, president of Child Trends. “Data-driven, evidence-based investments in our children are investments in our future. Especially in these uncertain times, we must do more than ever to ensure that every child in Greater Washington has equitable access to the resources and opportunities they need to thrive.”

VPP is releasing the report as the kickoff to its 20th anniversary celebration. The organization will be celebrating the milestone over the next year by looking back at the past 20 years and focusing on the next 20 years–and how it can best invest in the region’s children and youth–as well.

Download the full report at www.vppartners.org/insights/reports/.

About Venture Philanthropy Partners
Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP) is a philanthropic investment organization that aligns resources and actions to make the future brighter for young people in Greater Washington. VPP’s mission is to lead positive systemic change that builds a better future for vulnerable youth in Greater Washington. It invests resources, expertise, and time in collaborations and nonprofits to help more young people succeed in school, college, or their career. VPP has invested more than $110 million in nonprofits and networks in Greater Washington since 2000. VPP envisions a future where all young people have the opportunity to succeed and contribute to the productivity, health, and well-being of Greater Washington. Learn more at www.vppartners.org/.

About Child Trends
Child Trends is the nation’s leading research organization focused exclusively on improving the lives of children and youth, especially those who are most vulnerable. We work to ensure that all kids thrive by conducting independent research and partnering with practitioners and policymakers to apply that knowledge. Learn more at www.childtrends.org.