Address Barriers to Well-being for Hispanic Kids

08 September 2015 Written by  

The 2015 National KIDS COUNT Book, released this summer, showed Utah ranked 9th among all the states for 16 indicators of child well-being. This was good news for Utah which had been slipping in the rankings and had reached an all-time low of 14 just 2 years ago. In addition, Utah ranked in the top ten for 3 of the 4 domains: Economic Well-Being, Health, and Family and Community. Our Education ranking of 29th stood out as our worst domain and an area that needs much improvement.

However, while the data show that most children in our state have access to opportunities and programs to ensure they have everything they need to thrive, this access is not universal. There are major racial and ethnic disparities. To ensure all children have the chance succeed and live up to their potential we must address these barriers to opportunity.

Hispanic Data Link CoverTowards that end, the Utah KIDS COUNT Project has published a Data Link on the well-being of Utah’s Hispanic children as it compares to non-Hispanic white children in the state. The report can be found on our website at Hispanic Kids Data Link.  As you will see, though our child well-being rankings for children in general are very high, the data for our Hispanic children paints a very different picture. They are 3 times more likely to be uninsured, almost 3 ½ times more likely to be teen mothers, 3 times more likely to live in poverty, and the list goes on.

One of the first steps in improving child well-being in the state is to start to have conversations that enable stakeholders to adopt a race-equity approach to their work. Most parents have big dreams for their children, and our state wants all our children to have every opportunity to succeed. But many Utah children face insurmountable hurdles to making those dreams a reality. We must begin to address the barriers that our children of color face. We must begin to have the discussions that bring about solutions to communities that are not able to provide the opportunities afforded to other children. Our hope is to contribute to a new dialogue and a statewide effort that enables public, private, nonprofit, philanthropic and community leaders to ensure Utah lives up to its rich legacy.

For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities. How can you be involved?

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express for sponsoring our 30th Anniversary Year. Amex


Terry Haven 300Terry Haven, Deputy Director, joined the organization in 1996. She researches and publishes the annual Utah KIDS COUNT data book that reports on the well-being of Utah's children by county. She analyzes U.S Census data and provides data support for all Voices issue areas. She also conducts trainings and provides technical assistance on data work for community groups. Terry is the point person at Voices for our work on Intergenerational Poverty and two-generation strategies for moving children and their families out of poverty. This includes working with the Intergenerational Poverty Commission Research Subcommittee and focusing on chronic absence.Terry works with a number of national partners including the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Ascend Fund at the Aspen Institute, and Attendance Works to help further the mission of Voices for Utah Children. Her academic background is in sociology, with a Bachelors degree and Masters degree from the University of Wyoming.