California gets low scores on 2022 Children Now report card
Speaker 1: (00:00)
This year's California children's report card is out, and it is raising red flags for youth across the state. The report card shows from the pandemic to systemic racism. California youth are under a lot of pressure and more resources are needed to address it. Kelly Hardy is senior managing director of health and research with children. Now you join us with a look at California's grades. Kelly. Welcome.
Speaker 2: (00:24)
Thank you so much, Jade. So
Speaker 1: (00:25)
How did the state do in this year's report card?
Speaker 2: (00:28)
Well, the state brought home grades that I wouldn't want my kid to be bringing home well, let's just put it that way. Um, the, the state needs to be making kids priority 1, 2, 3, to make sure that they have the supports they need to grow up and succeed in California. The grades are a bit better than they were in the previous report card. We're moving in the right direction on some issues thanks to, to really big investments, but it's a start. We have a long way to go. So
Speaker 1: (01:00)
What areas do, did you all explore in this, uh, research?
Speaker 2: (01:04)
So we looked at 32 different issue areas from funding for K12 education, to healthcare, accountability, to preventive screenings, mental health, substance abuse, decriminalization of youth. So many different issue areas that impact children's lives. And we looked at both long term trends. What's what's happening with our kids. And also what we know of that we can see from the data, um, of the impact of the pandemic in those areas.
Speaker 1: (01:39)
And of particular concern in the data is the disparity in learning loss. Uh, as we enter the third year of this pandemic, can you talk about that?
Speaker 2: (01:48)
Absolutely. All kids have had some learning lag, um, that we see from the pandemic due to the closures of closures of school buildings, um, and difficulties connecting online, et cetera. Um, but we definitely see that some groups have had more difficulties than others, especially English learners. Um, those who are categorized as economically disadvantaged and American Indian and Latino students.
Speaker 1: (02:22)
Uh, the study also point into a rise in suicides among black youth. Uh, how much of an increase are we seeing and, and what's driving that.
Speaker 2: (02:30)
So, unfortunately there's a, a doubling really of the rate of suicides amongst black youth ages, 10 to 24, um, between 2014 and 2020, and especially a, a sharp rise from 2019 to 2020 there's congressional committees looking into this issue, it's not happening just in California, it's nationwide, but we really need to make sure that there's prevention and interventions targeted specifically towards black youth in California. What we're seeing as far as causes are that there's overt and systemic racism. That's put putting additional pressures on black youth and that are black, young people are over and under resourced.
Speaker 1: (03:21)
Hmm. From where you sit, do you think there are some policies in place that have really exacerbated these issues?
Speaker 2: (03:29)
There's just not enough access to services sometimes at any cost. Um, we hear of parents looking for mental healthcare for the kids and they can't find them no matter what they're willing to pay. So it's a, it's a really pressing concern.
Speaker 1: (03:46)
When you look at the data collected, uh, in this study, um, you describe the outlook for children in California as grim. What were the biggest indications of that? What we
Speaker 2: (03:57)
Pointed out around the health and mental health, um, is really concerning. And, uh, those of us who are parents, um, who are, or who have kids in our lives can certainly see that, that the pandemic has had, and especially concerning impact on the mental health of kids. Additionally, we see that the state D grade in healthcare, accountability, too few kids are getting checkups. Only 26% of our infants got well, baby checkups in California. And that was in 2019. So before the pandemic, so we really just need to be making sure that the basics are covered.
Speaker 1: (04:40)
What solutions do you see?
Speaker 2: (04:42)
Well, in the report card, we've included a pro kid agenda item for each of these issue areas. So we point out what we think the state should be doing, um, on all of these issues. One of the things that we mentioned is, again, more access to mental health services, you in schools and in other areas, because kids who need them are just not getting them,
Speaker 1: (05:06)
Uh, in this research, did you find areas where things are actually working for children?
Speaker 2: (05:12)
We did there's many bright spots, and I would encourage folks to look at the report card. One of them is that, uh, there was a historic rate of voting and amongst young people in 2020, and that's really exciting, uh, showing leadership for the future.
Speaker 1: (05:28)
I've been speaking with Kelly, Hardy, senior managing director of health and research with children. Now, Kelly, thank you so much for joining us.
Speaker 2: (05:35)
This year’s California Children’s Report Card is out and it is raising red flags for youth across the state.
The report card is conducted each year by the nonprofit Children Now. It shows disparities stemming from the pandemic and systemic racism need to be met with more state resources.
The report shows that suicide rates among Black youth have more than doubled since 2014, while rates for other groups of children have remained steady.
“What we are seeing as far as causes are that there is overt and systemic racism that is putting additional pressures on Black youth. And that our Black young people are over policed and under resourced,” said Kelly Hardy, senior managing director of health and research with Children Now.
Hardy joined Midday Edition on Thursday to talk about the report card's findings and the organization's recommendations for policy changes.