Report shows alarming disparities for city’s at-risk youth
by Jess Berry
Feb 04, 2015 | 10334 views | 0 0 comments | 403 403 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A recent report from the Citizens’ Committee for Children illustrates a true “tale of two cities” for New York City’s youth.

The “Community Risk Ranking” ranks the city’s 59 community districts from lowest to highest concentration of risk to the well-being of children.

The report, released just before Mayor Bill de Blasio’s State of the City Address, shows disparities in child well-being across the boroughs. It takes into account data on economic security, health, housing, education and youth and family issues.

While Brooklyn has five of the 18 highest-risk communities — Crown Heights North, Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, East New York and Brownsville — it also home to Park Slope, which ranks at number eight for the lowest-risk communities.

Borough Park is the lowest-risk community for child health, with the lowest infant mortality rate and lowest number of children without health insurance in the city.

In Queens, Bayside comes in at number four in the city’s top ten lowest-risk communities, but Queens Village and Jamaica/St. Albans are two of the highest-risk communities when it comes to health outcomes and healthcare environment for children.

Jackson Heights, Jamaica/St. Albans and Elmhurst/Corona were ranked the highest-risk communities in the borough.

The disparity between the highest-risk neighborhood in the city, Hunts Point in the Bronx, and the lowest-risk, Battery Park/Tribeca, is profound.

Hunts Point’s poverty rate soars at 60 percent, which is nearly ten times that of Battery Park’s 6.5 percent. While 28.8 percent of Hunts Point youth are unemployed, only 9.7 percent of youth are without jobs in Battery Park.

And fewer than one-third of public high school students in Hunts Point graduated on time, which is half of the citywide graduation rate of 61.3 percent.

Other neighborhoods also revealed alarming findings. In East Tremont in the Bronx, the infant mortality rate is 9.0 deaths per 1,000 live births. That rate is comparable to that of Sri Lanka or Botswana.

Jennifer March, executive director of Citizens’ Committee for Children, said that the city must do more to address these inequalities.

“Although the city has taken significant initial steps to combat inequality and improve opportunities for all New Yorkers, especially children, our Community Risk Ranking reveals that initiatives currently underway must go deeper and broader in the coming years to bridge this divide,” March said.

Citizens’ Committee for Children proposed a number of solutions to help address the disparities they found.

The group called for the expansion of affordable early childhood education, as well as elementary and high school after-school programs. They also recommended that the city provide all students with universal breakfast and lunch in the classroom, and improve access to the summer meals program.

For health improvements, the committee said that health and mental health services must be brought to every school, in addition to increased community-based health services.

Finally, they said, the city needs to provide youth with job training and summer employment, as well as expand access to rent subsidies, affordable housing and healthy food retail options for their families.

“We must increase our investments in programs and services that help children and families thrive and pay particular attention to the impact of such investments on the highest-risk communities where the barriers to child well-being are most profound,” March said.

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