Who’s watching the kids?

Growing from a beginning focus on the Twin Cities in 2008, Minnesota Compass research now takes in the entire state. Its website describes its work as:

  • Providing unbiased, credible information
  • Tracking trends and measuring progress on issues that impact our quality of life.
  • Identifying disparities by including trend data by race, age, gender and income whenever possible.
  • Providing additional resources for addressing issues.

A new section focusing on children and youth is the latest addition to the Compass website. The research is presented in four key components: population, connections to caring adults, enrichment activities, and groups at a glance. A few examples of the findings:

• Two out of five youth, aged 16-19, are working. About the same number are volunteers.

• About 35 percent of Black children in Minnesota have at least one parent who was born outside the United States.

• The number of Latino children in Minnesota has grown by 300 percent since 1990.

• Young people say their parents care about them very much, but do not perceive that they are cared about by community members.

• Almost half of all Black children in Minnesota live in poverty.

Andi Egbert, who is a Wilder research associate on children and youth, writes:

I hope it will help shift the conversation toward how we can put more positive and supportive things in all of our children’s lives, not just seek to remove negative influences. While the latter is important, it is downstream thinking. If we surround children with caring adults, provide quality out-of-school time activities for them, and offer other supports to their families, the likelihood of their engaging in unhealthy behaviors is greatly diminished. On an individual level, I think everyone can think of a concrete way to offer additional support to the young people in their community.

Information is powerful.

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