March 14, 2019
Meghan Farrell, firstname.lastname@example.org, 508-423-5185
CHILDREN’S HEALTH DATA SHOWS A NEED FOR STATEWIDE ACCESS TO SERVICES
CONCORD – New Hampshire children do not have equal access to high quality early development opportunities, according to a new report from New Futures Kids Count, a statewide health policy and advocacy organization.
This morning, New Futures, the Granite State’s designated Kids Count organization, joined early childhood service providers, advocates and state officials to the 2019 New Hampshire Kids Count Data Book. The report, the first released by New Futures, looks at child wellbeing in New Hampshire in four issue areas: early childhood and K-12 education, children’s health and wellness, economic security, and safety and wellbeing.
“It’s clear from the data that lawmakers should come together to support a statewide system of care for all children and access to family support services, like home visiting and other services offered at family resource centers, to promote equity and keep the Granite State’s youngest residents healthy and thriving,” said Rebecca Woitkowski, Early Childhood Policy Coordinator at New Futures.
According to data in the report, New Hampshire is rapidly diversifying. Children under age five represent the highest share of non-white Granite Staters, compared to just 3.5 percent of residents over 65. National data shows that people of color have a significantly higher chance of experiencing adversity in childhood, which can cause lifelong health detriments.
Further reducing equity in child opportunity, according to advocates, are our substance use, mental health, and child protection crises.
“The impact of these crises cannot be overstated,” Woitkowski said. “When young children experience trauma, it puts them at risk for future health problems, including substance misuse, mental health concerns, and even early death. Across our state, not all children have access to services which will reduce the negative impacts of this troubling time in New Hampshire.”
For example, in Coos County, where easy access to family support services is lacking due to geography and state support, the rate of child maltreatment cases is almost 3 times as high as the state’s total. Home visiting programs have been found to reduce child maltreatment.
Family support services, like home visiting and other services offered at family resource centers, are proven to mitigate adverse childhood experiences, help children’s brains develop on track, and set kids up for success later in life.
“The services provided by Family Resource Centers, including home visiting, allow families to develop the skills that encourage healthy developmental growth among all members of the family unit,” said Erin Pettengil, director of the Lakes Region Family Resource Center.
KIDS COUNT is a national project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Additional supporters include the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, Endowment for Health, and New Hampshire Children’s Health Foundation.
For the full report, visit: https://new-futures.org/news/blog/2019-new-hampshire-kids-count-data-book
ABOUT NEW FUTURES
New Futures is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that advocates, educates and collaborates to improve the health and wellness of all New Hampshire residents through policy change.