What’s Being Done About African-American Child Deaths In Sacramento?

Over 360,000 children live in Sacramento County. 33% of these children are white with another 33% latinx, 15% asian, and 11% black. While they make up one of the smallest demographics, there’s an issue within black children that has been plaguing them for over 20 years.

According to a study by thecapcenter.org and the Sacramento County Child Death Review Team (CDRT), between the years of 1990 and 2009 there has been a total of 3,633 child deaths in the county. The overall child death rate during the twenty year period was 53.20 per 100,000 Sacramento County Children. The data shows that black children,  who only make up about 11% of the children population of Sacramento, have been dying at almost twice the rate of any other race.

Many of these deaths are due to perinatal conditions, congenital anomalies, infant-related sleep deaths, homicides, and motor vehicle collisions. But according to a new report by the First 5 Sacramento Commission, the infant-mortality rate has gone down by around 45% among black children in Sacramento between the years of 2013 to 2016.

This new trend brings down the number of mortality rates for black children to seven out of every 1,000 compared to 5 out of every 1,000 in the overall child mortality rates for other ethnicities. The First 5 Sacramento Commission has been working with a group of community advocates called the Black Child Legacy Campaign (BCLC). They have worked together to produce a public education program which surrounds the health of black infants. This education program includes pregnancy support, school support, and more.  

“To see that data up there really tells the story of us really being committed to this work and educating our families,” said Jackie Rose of the Rose Family Creative Empowerment Center. “They’re getting it, they’re really getting it.”

The same report from the First 5 Sacramento Commission also says that the women that are enrolled in educational programs, such as the one produced by the BCLC, were more likely to put their babies to sleep safely than those who aren’t.

“We do see from today’s report that we’re headed in the right direction,” said Linda Fong-Somera, program planner for the commission. “We’ve had significant decreases in many of the areas.”

First 5 Sacramento Commission, BCLC, and CDRT hope and expects that this progress continues in the future. Since the County of Sacramento has been focusing more money in black infant mortality reduction than in 2015, they expect that future samples and studies will show even more progress and hope to even out the disparity between black children mortality rates compared to other ethnicities.

“After twenty years of listening to child stories, tabulating data, presenting annual reports, and watching programs and policies come and go, and the wisdom among our Child Death Review