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How is child well-being in New York?

  • / Updated:
  • Edwin Viera 

Child well-being in New York has fluctuated over the last year, a recent annual report finds.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count Data Book found that New York’s child health rank increased, although it lost ground in family and community and child economic well-being.

Child advocates have said they feel some newly implemented state initiatives will help bolster some of these rankings. However, Dia Bryant, executive director of the Education Trust of New York, said there are places the state needs to make up lost ground.

“One is really solving for our housing crisis that we’re experiencing around the state,” she said, “particularly with lots of newcomers in our state, and ensuring folks are set up for success in terms of banking and entering our society.”

While the state of New York’s education ranking declined slightly, Bryant said the drop in reading and math proficiency shouldn’t be happening. But, this is part of a national trend. The latest scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress showed reading and math scores declined across the country to levels not seen since the 1970s.

Other improvements needing to be made for child well-being include making child care more affordable. Leslie Boissiere, the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s vice president for external affairs, found that families across the country need affordable, accessible and quality child care. However, she noted that there will be challenges to making this a reality.

“Infant care is the most expensive, and it is actually higher than in-state college tuition in 34 states,” she said. “The affordability for families is a huge challenge, and at the same time, early child-care workers are among the lowest paid in the country.”

Boissiere also wants to see child-care employees paid a living wage. A 2022 Center for the Study of Child Care Employment report found more than half of child-care workers or their family members were enrolled in at least one public support program, compared with 21% of the U.S. workforce as a whole.