A new report finds Nevada’s children suffered more during the pandemic than those in many other states – and that small gains in child well-being made before the pandemic may have been reversed.
The 2021 Kids Count report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation found many Latino and Black families in particular were having a tough time even before the COVID-19 shutdowns caused so many job losses.
Tara Raines, director of Kids Count initiatives for the Children’s Advocacy Alliance, said Nevada needs to tackle some big issues.
“The report that came out after the pandemic showed that we were suffering more than the national average across the four key points,” she said, “and that was health insurance, parents with feelings of hopelessness and depression, housing insecurity and food insecurity.”
Using data from 2019, the report ranked Nevada 41st in the United States for children’s economic well-being and 46th in education. It found 60% of fourth graders are reading below grade level and 74% of eighth graders are not proficient in math. But those stats represent incremental improvement from the numbers in 2010. Nevada’s teen birth rate and number of teens in school improved as well.
The report also had some good news, finding that the U.S. economy started to recover in March. Leslie Boissiere, vice president for external affairs for the Casey Foundation, said child poverty should dip significantly in July–once the money starts flowing from the expanded Child Tax Credit under the American Rescue Plan.
“For families with children under the age of 6, it’s $300 a month that those families will be receiving,” she said. “So, at a time when families are concerned with being able to pay their mortgage, or to pay their rent or to provide food for their families, it’s a significant amount.”
The Child Tax Credit expires in December; President Joe Biden has called for it to be extended for five years. The report recommended that Congress make the income supports permanent for low-income families.