Community Impact


A Picture of Children & Families in Our Communities: Addressing Needs and Next Steps

Main Street Community Foundation has taken a leadership role in improving communities by identifying and responding to the needs and challenges faced by local children and families.

Main Street Community Foundation co-funded a study, which was conducted by a New Haven-based research and advocacy group, Connecticut Voices for Children. In November 2013, the Foundation hosted a presentation titled “A Picture of Children and Families in Our Communities: Addressing Needs and Next Steps.” Connecticut Voices for Children provided a snapshot of the emerging problems and trends among residents in the towns served by the Foundation, and how they compare to the state of Connecticut’s overall population. The study analyzed data related to early care and education, family economic security, health, housing, population demographic and social discipline.

Findings included:

  • Mirroring Connecticut, all six towns are facing an aging workforce and employers are struggling to find enough skilled workers. The demand for workers with postsecondary education is increasing and outpacing the supply.
  • The unemployment rate in Bristol, Plymouth and Wolcott is higher than the state average.
  • 12 percent of Bristol children live in poverty, compared to 10 percent in Plainville, 7.5 percent in Plymouth, 4 percent in Southington and Burlington and 2.5 percent in Wolcott. The statewide average is 12.6 percent.
  • The percentage of students in 3rd Grade reading at or above goal is lower in Bristol (46.1 percent) and Plainville (53.7 percent) than the state (57 percent).
  • Wolcott has 5.8 arrests for every 1,000 students, while the state average is 5.7 arrests. Southington has 4.9 arrests per 1,000 students, Plymouth has 3.5 and Bristol and Plainville have 2.8 and 2.9 respectively; data was not available for Burlington.
  • In the six towns, 7.7 percent of the population under 65 is uninsured; 3 percent of the population under 18 is uninsured.
  • At 41 percent, Bristol has the highest percentage of births to mothers enrolled in the state’s HUSKY insurance program for low-income infants and mothers. In Plymouth the rate is 33.5 percent; in Plainville, 27 percent; in Southington, 24 percent; in Wolcott, 23.5 percent; and in Burlington, 14 percent.

Communities, individuals, and service providers can use the study for program planning, evaluation, and advocacy. A complete copy of the presentation is available for download.