According to a newly-released report on Child Trends for the Bainum Family Foundation, children living in Ward 7 and Ward 8 within the District of Columbia are faced with a significant number of hurdles that effect their educational, developmental, and survival potential. Findings of the report suggests these children are up to 40 times more likely to face such obstacles than children living in more affluent areas of the District.
Rozita Green, Chief Strategy Officer at the Bainum Family Foundation, noted the report breaks the District into two cities, with infants and toddlers in Ward 7 and Ward 8 being faced with greater challenges than those who grow up in other parts of the District, with unequal support systems in place to help them.
A number of factors found to be related to success in early childhood were considered for the study, which then determined how much they affected various areas of the District. Researchers determined that children who live in the poorest wards of the District are almost 40 times more likely to have been born to a woman under 20 years old, more than 20 times more likely to live in "concentrated poverty," more than six times more likely to only live with one parent, almost five times more likely to live with parents that do not hold bachelor's degrees, and twice as likely to live with a parent who does not have a stable income.
The study, "Infants and Toddlers in the District of Columbia: A Statistical Look at Needs and Disparities," also compared the outcomes of children by ward and region, discovering that those who are growing up in the poorest wards are more than 100 times more likely to face some sort of neglect, twice as likely to have been born prematurely to a mother who received little to no prenatal treatment, and 25 times more likely to pass away before even turning one year old.
"In DC today, the color of a child's skin and the address on his or her mailbox determine that child's chances of success – or even survival," said Green. "We can and should do more to level the playing field for all babies in DC. The District's progress on pre-K shows we can improve the odds, if policymakers make kids a priority."
Statistics from the US Census Bureau found around 9,000 infants are born in the District each year, with over 26,000 children between the ages of 0 and 2 living there in 2014. A 2010 Census found 94% of Ward 8 residents and 95% of Ward 7 residents to be African American. Meanwhile, only 5% of Ward 3 residents are African American.
In an effort to promote policy reforms and service improvements for children throughout the district, the Bainum Family Foundation plans to launch an early childhood funding initiative next year. Funding by the Foundation is expected to reach $10 million over the next five years.
Previously referred to as the Commonweal Foundation, the Bainum Family Foundation offers educational support and services throughout Washington, DC. While the foundation has historically focused on older children, it pledged to put $10 million over the next five years into boosting early learning opportunities throughout the District.