The Child & Youth Development Workgroup has done a great deal of work to determine its baseline data and chart a course forward to reduce racial disparities. The workgroup decided to focus its efforts on education, a vital component of child and youth development. In addition to reviewing the equity report from King County, Washington, and the 2020 Heart of Illinois United Way Community Assessment, the workgroup obtained data for Peoria Public Schools District 150 from the Illinois State Board of Education Report Card. The results show stark and dramatic racial disparities in Peoria — especially between the White and Black student populations.
The Child & Youth Development Workgroup has identified three primary focus areas for its work in 2023:
1) Increasing the availability of community resources for families
2) Increasing the percentage of students achieving benchmark goals
3) Improving parent engagement
To aid in its work, the workgroup hopes to engage key community partners such as the Heart of Illinois United Way, Peoria Public Schools District 150, Peoria Friendship House of Christian Service, and school PTO organizations.
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Measures of income, poverty and employment are among the most significant indicators of racial inequities in our community. Without a job that pays a living wage, it’s nearly impossible to sustain a household and provide a stable living environment in which children can learn, build intergenerational wealth or save for children’s college education. The inequitable distribution of resources and economic opportunity across racial lines contributes to disparities in practically every other aspect of life, including, education, employment, housing, mobility, health, and more.