Race, Place Shape Fate for Youngest DC Residents, Report Finds

Bethesda, Maryland (December 10, 2015) – Young children living in the District of Columbia’s Ward 7 and Ward 8 disproportionately face obstacles that impede their educational, developmental, and even survival potential, a new report finds. The analysis, conducted by Child Trends for the Bainum Family Foundation, indicates that infants and toddlers in those wards are up to 40 times more likely to face these obstacles than their peers in the District’s more affluent areas.

“This report tells a tale of two cities: Infants and toddlers in Ward 7 and Ward 8 face much greater challenges than those in other parts of the District, and their support systems are nowhere near equal,” said Rozita Green, Chief Strategy Officer at the Bainum Family Foundation.

The analysis explores factors correlated with early childhood success, assessing their prevalence in different parts of the District. It finds that, compared with those in more affluent areas, young children in the District’s poorest wards are:

  • Nearly 40 times more likely to have been born to women under age 20
  • More than 20 times more likely to live in “concentrated poverty”
  • More than six times more likely to live with only one parent
  • Nearly five times more likely to live with parents who do not have a bachelor’s degree
  • Twice as likely to live in homes where no parent has stable employment

The analysis also compares early childhood outcomes by ward and region. It finds that, compared with those in more affluent areas, young children in the District’s poorest wards are:

  • More than 100 times more likely to face neglect or other maltreatment
  • Twice as likely to have been born prematurely and born to moms who received late or no prenatal health care
  • 25 times more likely to die before their first birthdays

“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.”

Approximately 9,000 infants are born in the District each year. U.S. Census Bureau data for 2014 indicates that more than 26,000 children ages 0-2 live in the District. Based on the 2010 census, African-Americans accounted for 94% of Ward 8 residents and 95% of Ward 7 residents. African-Americans accounted for 5% of Ward 3 residents.

The Bainum Family Foundation plans to launch a new early childhood funding initiative in 2016, supporting efforts to secure meaningful policy reforms and service improvements for young children in the District. Foundation support for this initiative over five years is expected to reach $10 million.

“In partnership with some of the city’s most effective nonprofits, we are committed to breaking the bonds that hold back babies and toddlers in Southeast D.C.,” said Green. “From improving supports for families to closing service gaps for young children, we know what needs to be addressed. The District’s policymakers must provide leadership on this issue and help to secure the necessary resources and support.”

The Bainum Family Foundation combines proven expertise with a passion for supporting the whole child by providing integrated services to help them thrive. Our circle of collaboration includes investments and support in early learning, wrap-around services and knowledge building. Founded in 1968 by Stewart and Jane Bainum, it was originally known as The College Foundation, and later the Commonweal Foundation, and has helped children exit poverty through educational programs and services for 47 years. For more information, visit www.bainum.wearevanish.com.

For more information about the report, Infants and Toddlers in the District of Columbia: A Statistical Look at Needs and Disparities, or to speak with a Foundation representative, contact:

Ed Walz
202 374 2024