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NE Queens scores high in childhood safety

By Gina Martinez

In a new report released by the Citizens Committee for Children, Bayside and Astoria were ranked as being the safest for children in New York City, while Jamaica and Jackson Heights were among those ranked as “High Risk”

The Citizens Committee for Children, the non-profit child advocacy group in New York, recently released a report called “Community Risk Ranking,” which ranks the city’s 59 community districts from lowest to highest concentration of risk to the well-being of children. The results were surprising, shining a light on the discrepancy in living conditions for children in the city whose neighborhoods are sometimes only blocks away from one another.

The different domains for risk were Economic Security, Housing, Health, Education, Youth, and Family and Community. The factors used to determine the rankings varied from infant mortality rate, high school graduation rate and teen birth rate and parent joblessness, among others.

Battery Park/Tribeca in lower Manhattan was ranked lowest risk overall, while Hunts Point in the Bronx was the highest risk district, with a 60 percent poverty rate.

The Queens neighborhood that was overall the lowest risk in most categories was Bayside, which ranked second best in Education, just behind Battery Park/Tribeca. Bayside ranked top 10 in all categories except for Housing. Astoria was the only Queens neighborhood that cracked the top 10.

According to Citizens Committee for Children “CCC has been producing its Community Risk Ranking for more than 20 years as part of Keeping Track, the most extensive database available on the status of NYC’s 2 million children. By highlighting the vast inequality in child well-being across the city and illustrating how risks are interrelated, the ranking can help to determine where additional resources, supports, or services are needed to improve outcomes for children.”

The Queens neighborhoods that ranked the worst were Jamaica/ St. Albans (overall risk 44 out of 59) – a combination of all the categories; Jackson Heights (economic security 39 out of 59) Ridgewood/Glendale (education 48 out of 59) and Elmhurst/Corona (family and community 42 out of 59). In terms of highest health risk Queens Village ranked 58 out of 59, second only to East Tremont in the Bronx. Queens Village has problems with children without health insurance, low birth weight and infant mortality.

“Although the city has taken significant initial steps to combat inequality and improve opportunities for all New Yorkers, especially children, our Community Risk Ranking reveals that initiatives currently underway must go deeper and broader in the coming years to bridge this divide,” the report said. “We must increase our investments in programs and services that help children and families thrive and pay particular attention to the impact of such investments on the highest-risk communities where the barriers to child well-being are most profound,” said Jennifer March, the executive director.

CCC said it hoped the report would lead to more affordable housing, an increase in the minimum wage and an increase in outreach for prenatal care.

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