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Data shows inequities in child health access.

New Hampshire children do not have equal access to high-quality early development opportunities, according to a new report from New Futures Kids Count, a statewide health policy and advocacy organization.

The report, the first released by New Futures, looks at child well-being in New Hampshire in four issue areas: early childhood and K-12 education; children's health and wellness; economic security; and safety and well-being.

According to the report, New Hampshire is rapidly diversifying. Children under age 5 represent the highest share of non-white Granite Staters, compared to just 3.5 percent of residents over 65. National data shows that people of color have a significantly higher chance of experiencing adversity in childhood, which can cause lifelong health detriments.

Further reducing equity in child opportunity, according to advocates, are the state's substance use, mental health and child protection crises, said Rebecca Woitkowski, early childhood policy coordinator at New Futures.

"The impact of these crises cannot be overstated," she said. "When young children experience trauma, it puts them at risk for future health problems, including substance misuse, mental health concerns and even early death. Across our state, not all children have access to services which will reduce the negative impacts of this troubling time in New Hampshire."

She added that "it's clear from the data that lawmakers should come together to support a statewide system of care for all children and access to family support services, like home visiting and other services offered at family resource centers, to promote equity and keep the Granite State's youngest residents healthy and thriving."

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Title Annotation:HEALTHCARE
Publication:New Hampshire Business Review
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Mar 29, 2019
Words:258
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