America’s Cradle to Prison Pipeline report, released in September, 2007 by Children’s Defense Fund, states that “the most dangerous place for a child to be born in America, is at the intersection of race and poverty.”
There are 152,000 children living in poverty in Minnesota.
45%, or nearly half, of Minnesota’s Black children live in poverty. This rate of poverty for Black children is above the national average, and in fact only 3 states have higher poverty rates for Black children than Minnesota – Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Child poverty costs the state of Minnesota $5.7 billion annually, due to lost economic productivity and added expenditures in the health care and criminal justice system.
According to the 2008 Minnesota Kid’s Count Data Book and a study done by the Humans Service Policy Center at the Evans School of Public Affairs in Washington “Poverty acts like a poison, damaging the growing brain and limiting children’s potential as they grow into adulthood.”
Black boys born in 2001 are at a 1 in 3 lifetime risk of going to prison, and Latino boys born in 2001 at a 1 in 6 lifetime risk, as opposed to the 1 in 17 chance a White boy has.
One of the factor’s fueling this prison pipeline is lack of health and mental health care.
Children who have health care coverage are more likely to see a doctor regularly and avoid serious health issues.. Unidentified health issues often lead to behavioral problems in school which lead to be victimized by the zero tolerance school discipline policies, suspension, arrest and criminalization.
Children without health care are more likely to miss school, fall behind, act out, get into trouble, and eventually drop out.
Healthy early years build a foundation for life-long health and well-being.
9.4 million children across our nation, 77,000 here in Minnesota, are living without health care.