Critical Problems Facing Queens Children

A rising number of Queens children face poverty, homelessness, an failing schools, as well as serious risks to their health and safety, according to a report issued by a child advocacy group.
The latest edition of "Keeping Track," by the Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York (CCC) statistically details how these factors are affecting Borough youngsters, 18 and under:
• More than half of children, or 54 percent, are now born into poor families, a nearly 20 percent increase over 1990.
• 44 percent of Borough and elementary and middle school students are not reading at grade level.
• More than 8 percent of the Borough’s births last year were to teenage mothers.
• Every day, nearly 50 babies are born into poor families living in Queens.
• More than one-third of Flushing and Bayside’s overcrowded elementary and middle schools are of Asian descent.
"The City is creating an underclass where the futures of 430,000 Queens children are in jeopardy," said Gail Noyowith, Executive Director for CCC. She also charged that both Governor Pataki and Mayor Giuliani would rather find new ways to deprive youngsters of the services they desperately need.
Not all news about Queens kids was bad. Queens libraries had nearly 60 percent more books-per-kid than the City average; while having the highest percentage of immigrant students, Queens still had the highest grade-level reading scores; and Queens’ 428,806 youngsters (18 and younger) received high CCC ratings for their better-than-average reduction of Queens health risks.
Citing a steady decade of prenatal funding progress, Nayowith said, "Since 1990, more New York City mothers have received nearly prenatal care, resulting in more healthy babies."
"Keeping Track" delved strongly into the problems faced by different racial groups.
• More than half of the city’s abused or neglected children were African-American.
• Nearly 47 percent of all children of Asian descent are born into poor families.
• Over one-third of the children placed in the New York State Office of Children and Family services were Latino.
• About ten percent of white high school students dropped out before graduation.
The report also touched on how Queens kids fared in their neighborhoods: Elmhurst/Corona had the highest concentration of children, with 12,522 kids per square mile; Jamaica/St. Albans had Queens’ highest infant mortality rate with nearly 12 deaths per 1,000 live births; and Astoria/Long Island City had the Borough’s lowest percentage of home ownership (19.1 percent).
The CCC has compiled the statistics in "Keeping Track" every two years since 1993 in order to highlight its commitment to ten childcare programs, ranging from prenatal care to youth employment and training.
"I cannot fathom how Governor Pataki can invest in new, high-tech prisons and Mayor Giuliani can plan a sports stadium complex while children’s basic needs go unmet," said Nayowith.