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Almost half of young children in the United States live in poverty or near poverty. Children in California are particularly vulnerable because over one third of its residents are living in severe economic distress. California is home to roughly 11-million youth under the age of 18 with the following demographics:

  • Children of color are 74.4% of the population and 25.6% are white.

  • In 2018, 47.1% of California children lived with foreign-born (immigrant) parents.

  • 33% of people experiencing homelessness lived in families with children and more than half of all homeless families with children lived in just four states: California, Florida, Massachusetts and New York.

Poverty and related social determinants of health can lead to adverse vision outcomes in childhood and across the course of life, negatively affecting physical health, socio-emotional development, educational achievement and employment rates. Children of color across most racial categories are more likely to experience poverty than their White counterparts. Black, LatinX, and American Indian / Alaskan Native children are the most impoverished and are influenced differently by a multitude of complex and interrelated factors within their cultural and physical environments.

Within California, FFF is prioritizing Los Angeles County as it has one of the largest workforce and education ecosystems in the nation -- with 19 community colleges, 7 workforce development boards and more than 30 America’s Job Centers of California, dozens of public and private universities, 5 California State Universities, 100+ adult education providers, 81 K-12 school districts, and a multitude of labor unions, private postsecondary vocational education and trade schools, non-profits, and other stakeholders. Los Angeles County is also the most populous in the country, with an estimated 10.3 million residents in 2018. To put that into perspective, 1 in 4 Californians and 1 in 33 Americans live within LA County.

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