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Jan. 18, 2024 |  By: Mark Moran - Public News Service

Report shows Iowa kids of color fare worse than white peers


By Mark Moran - Public News Service

A new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation found while children of color in Iowa fare slightly better than their white peers nationally, in the state they are trailing them in nearly every area.

The Race for Results report showed persistent gaps between children of color and their white peers in safe places to live and play, access to affordable education from preschool to college, and the availability of training for the skills they need to make ends meet later in life.

Anne Discher, executive director of Common Good Iowa, said the state's children of color face disparate outcomes jeopardizing their well-being, and said Iowa fares only slightly better than neighboring states.

"I think Iowans often expect to see themselves at the top of these kinds of lists," Discher acknowledged. "And we are better than average but not by enough."

Children of color represent one of every four children. The report indicated Black children in the state ranked 26th of 46 participating states. Latinos ranked 12th and white children ranked 18th.

The Race for Results report called on Congress to expand the federal Child Tax Credit. When lawmakers expanded it during the pandemic, it lifted 2.1 million children out of poverty, sending the child poverty rate down to 5.2%, the lowest on record. In Iowa,

Discher emphasized children are missing out on key developmental milestones largely due to a dramatic shift in the state's economic direction.

"Iowa lawmakers in recent years have really prioritized tax cuts," Discher stressed. "Which really happen to disproportionately benefit the wealthiest Iowans over making meaningful investments in policies and programs that improve the well-being of children. "

The third edition of the Race for Results report contains child-focused data collected during and right after the pandemic.