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Child poverty, teen pregnancy disparities staggering across NYC: report

The "tale of two cities" is a narrative of staggering disparities among New York City's children, according to a report by the Citizens Committee for Children, an advocacy organization.

Hunts Point was identified as the highest-risk community for kids, with child poverty in that neighborhood (60%) nearly 10 times that of the lowest-risk community, Battery Park/TriBeCa (6.5%).

The average Mott Haven/Hunts Point family earns less than $20,000 a year -- one-tenth the income of a family with children on the Upper East Side ($212,276). Educational disparities were also stark, with fewer than one-third of public high school students in Hunts Point graduating on time compared to 78.5% of students in Battery Park and TriBeCa.

In East Tremont, the infant mortality rate of nine deaths per 1,000 live births compares to Sri Lanka or Botswana, according to the report

Also sobering was the teen pregnancy rate for girls between the ages of 16 to 19: For every 1,000 girls in that age group in Hunts Point, 41.3 had a baby each year whereas none at all gave birth in TriBeCa/Battery Park. And the Hunts Point youth unemployment rate was roughly triple that of the affluent downtown enclave.

The group outlined several actions to remedy the disparities, including the expansion of rent subsidies; affordable housing and healthy food options as well as increased investments in parks and playgrounds. Early childhood education programs should extended to infants and toddlers and augmented by more after school activities for kids of all ages and more prenatal care, health and mental health services were needed in the schools and community, according to the group. While the city has recently made progress combating inequality, initiatives "must go broader and deeper to bridge this divide," Jennifer March, executive director of the CCC said in a statement.

Other desirable initiatives her organization recommended included universal breakfast and lunch programs and improved access to the summer meals program, increasing the minimum wage, providing youth with job training and summer employment and increasing community-based preventive services.

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