By Marie LeBlanc, Community Partnerships Coordinator
Last week, Venture Philanthropy Partners published Capital Kids: Shared Responsibility, Shared Future, the first comprehensive study of the state of children and youth in the National Capital Region. Capital Kids reveals starling statistics and information regarding the state of the region’s children and youth, which Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP) CEO Carol Thompson Cole describes as “in crisis.”
Top-line findings from the report show that child poverty continues to plague the District and National Capital Region (NCR), with some of the highest child poverty rates in the country. The report identified three other key trends and factors that influence the disparity among life situations of children within the NCR, in addition to the poverty factor: the opportunity divide, the achievement gap, and the immigration impact. The entire report is available for download online at http://capitalkidsreport.org/, and the accompanying website includes additional information on many areas explored in the study.
Some key facts from Capital Kids:
- 30.4% of children in the District live in poverty
- Between 2005 and 2012, the rate of childhood poverty in Alexandria increased four times, while the rate doubled in Montgomery County
- 41% of children in the NCR have at least one immigrant parent
- Almost 43,000 youth in the NCR are not enrolled in school, including 14,000 youth between the ages of 16-19 who are neither enrolled in school nor employed in the labor force
- 41.5% of third graders in the District scored proficient in reading, a key indicator of future academic achievement.
In an interview with WUSA 9, Thompson Cole went on to promote the importance of gathering and utilizing data as much as possible to facilitate the most effective use of our region’s resources, particularly at a time when resources in the social sector are still constrained. Thompson Cole also expressed her desire for the report to be seen as a “call to action” for all community leaders to pursue the many improvements that are needed to improve the lives of children in the NCR.
“When our young people fail to reach their full potential, we all pay a price. With this report, we call upon leaders throughout our Region to declare the social and financial costs unacceptable and to signal their willingness to chart a new path against the backdrop of a shared destiny.” –Capital Kids (introduction).
Many Catalogue nonprofits already work to address the needs of children as identified in this study. Please check out our nonprofit catalogue online to read about their incredible work in education and other youth social services, and contact us for more information on a specific organization, or ways that you can become involved.