|By PR Newswire||
|September 6, 2012 12:01 AM EDT||
As poverty rates climb and education disparities persist, "Opportunity Divide" costs billions; VPP calls for regional solutions to tackle issues keeping children from successful adulthood
WASHINGTON, Sept. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP), in partnership with Child Trends, released today the first comprehensive analysis of the state of children and youth throughout the National Capital Region.
The report — Capital Kids: Shared Responsibility, Shared Future — reveals that despite the overall affluence of the region, an enormous "opportunity gap" exists between the children who have what they need to lead healthy, productive lives and those who don't.
"Our children are in crisis beyond belief," said VPP CEO Carol Thompson Cole. "Today we are calling upon the leaders of this region from government, business, philanthropy and the nonprofit sector to work together to eliminate the barriers that are keeping too many of our children from reaching adulthood successfully."
The report focused on children and youth in the District of Columbia, Montgomery and Prince George's Counties in Maryland; the cities of Falls Church and Alexandria; and the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William in Virginia. Topline findings include:
- In sections of Washington, D.C., the poverty rate among children exceeds those in some developing countries. But childhood poverty is no longer just an urban problem, with rates doubling or quadrupling in just five years in some of the region's wealthiest jurisdictions including Montgomery County.
- An increasing number of children are growing up in single-mother households, a factor that greatly enhances their likelihood of living in poverty.
- The presence of many new immigrant children in our communities, some with limited English skills, will require additional resources and services sensitive to their needs so they can achieve educational and economic success.
- Opportunity youth — the 14,000 youth ages 16 to 19 across the National Capital Region who do not attend school and are not employed — could cost our region an estimated $13 billion over their lifetime in lost tax and economic contributions, as well as their use of social services.
"We are facing very high rates of child poverty in the District, even as we experience a new surge in child poverty in suburbs long considered immune from such hardship," said Child Trends President Carol Emig. "Regardless of whether they live in the city or the suburbs, children who grow up poor are at greater risk of health, social, and educational problems – problems that will affect the entire region and must be addressed through a region-wide effort."
The report noted that the communities that comprise the region have an economic stake in each other's success, sharing a common labor pool, a large market for production and consumption, a transportation system and the economic benefits of tourism. By applying a regional lens to these issues, VPP officials said they hoped to catalyze action among government, business, nonprofit, philanthropic and civic leaders.
"When our children don't succeed, we all pay a price—one that we believe is unacceptably high," Cole said. "Collective action is needed from across sectors and throughout the region from all stakeholders to help today's generation of kids make it over the finish line. Our children's needs do not stop at jurisdictional boundaries, and neither can our efforts to ensure their future well-being. We believe the data and insights from Capital Kids provide a starting point for determining priorities and tracking progress throughout the region."
The full report is available at http://capitalkidsreport.org/.
About Venture Philanthropy Partners
Venture Philanthropy Partners makes the future brighter for youth living in the National Capital Region by tackling the largest barriers to their success and forging partnerships that bring the expertise, passion and reach necessary to achieve life-changing results. Over the past 12 years, VPP has raised over $90 million to help children and youth of low-income families in the National Capital Region access quality education, health care and career training – setting them on the right path to learn, graduate, and become successful, healthy adults. This funding, coupled with our management expertise and support in strengthening staff leadership, has increased the capacity of local nonprofits to help them serve over 40,000 children and youth across the region each year. For more information, visit www.vppartners.org.
About Child Trends
Child Trends is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research center that studies children at all stages of development. We seek to improve the lives of children and youth by conducting high-quality research and sharing it with the people and institutions whose decisions and actions affect children. Learn more at www.childtrends.org.
SOURCE Venture Philanthropy Partners