UConn Report Cites Hartford Neighborhoods With Highest Risk Factors For Children
By VANESSA DE LA TORRE
April 26, 2013
HARTFORD — — A new University of Connecticut report measures risk factors that could hinder city children's learning and identifies specific neighborhoods that might benefit from more social services and programs.
The city school system commissioned "Hartford Neighborhood Assessment: Factors Impacting Student & Family Success." Crime and poverty statistics, teen pregnancy rates, education and housing are among the factors researchers weighed when ranking neighborhoods from high to low priority.
While the report indicates most neighborhoods have made gains in those areas since 2009, researchers highlighted Frog Hollow, Clay Arsenal, Barry Square, Asylum Hill, Upper Albany and Northeast as the neediest parts of the city. They are also among the poorest neighborhoods in Hartford.
UConn graduate student Angela Colantonio and Katie Martin, an assistant professor at the university's Department of Allied Health Sciences, wrote the report that was released Wednesday at Superintendent Christina Kishimoto's State of the Schools address.
"The neighborhood risk factors will require collaborative work from a lot of partners," Martin said.
Frog Hollow scored a 19.25 compared to the positive 6.6 rating in the West End, which borders West Hartford. About 2 miles separate the two neighborhoods.
More than a dozen city neighborhoods assessed in 2009 were evaluated again for 2012. Poverty was weighed heavily and accounted for 25 percent of neighborhood scores.
Asylum Hill had the highest child poverty rating, which contributed to it being the only neighborhood with a notably higher overall score compared to 2009, despite progress in health and housing, the report stated. Asylum Hill's score worsened from 15.35 to 17.65, a 15 percent increase.
Sheldon-Charter Oak scored 11.5 and showed the biggest improvement. The report cited better health and education scores, along with a lower percentage of single mothers living in poverty in that neighborhood.
Education data included graduation rates and the percentage of fourth-graders that did not meet proficiency goals on the 2012 Connecticut Mastery Test. Sheldon-Charter Oak is among the city neighborhoods with magnet schools that draw both suburban and city students.
Colantonio and Martin urged community leaders "to investigate what social, economic, cultural, or political changes took place in Hartford neighborhoods in the past few years that may be responsible for the changes in total scores observed."
Mayor Pedro Segarra said crime is generally down across Hartford and added that "while you deal with educational improvements through education reform, you also have to deal with conditions of poverty."
Segarra noted that most of the city's annual budget goes to funding the public schools.
"We need to talk about poverty and how to leverage [school] board resources to alleviate the problem," he said. "Just the whole distribution of resources in general."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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