Category Archives: Children

Children’s health insurance, family income, and welfare enrollment

Source: Martin Saavedra, Children and Youth Services Review, Volume 73, February 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Children from wealthier families are more likely to have health insurance than children from poorer families on average. However, the relationship between family income and health insurance is non-linear, as children near the Federal Poverty Line (FPL) are less likely to be insured than children from both wealthier families (who obtain health insurance from the private market) and poorer families (who obtain government-funded health insurance). This health insurance dip has persisted even as Medicaid has been expanded to cover those above the FPL. One explanation for this is that families who are far below the poverty line are better connected to the welfare system, and consequently, are more likely to enroll in Medicaid. This study uses data from the 2001–2013 Current Population Surveys and finds that (1) controlling for many of the determinants of eligibility, those on other forms of government assistance are more likely to have health insurance, and (2) the relationship between family income and children’s health insurance status is strictly increasing after controlling for enrollment in other welfare programs

Highlights:

• Children near the poverty line are some of the least likely to have health insurance.
• Children on public assistance are more likely to have insurance.
• The insurance-income relationship is increasing after controlling for welfare enrollment.

Child Welfare: An Overview of Federal Programs and Their Current Funding

Source: Emilie Stoltzfus, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, R43458, January 10, 2017

Child welfare services are intended to prevent the abuse or neglect of children; ensure that children have safe, permanent homes; and promote the well-being of children and their families. As the U.S. Constitution has been interpreted, states have the primary obligation to ensure the welfare of children and their families. At the state level, the child welfare “system” consists of public and private child protection and child welfare workers, public and private social services workers, state and local judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement personnel. These representatives of various state and local entities assume inter related roles while carrying out child welfare activities, including
• promoting child and family well-being through community-based activities;
• investigating, or otherwise responding to, allegations of child abuse and neglect;
• providing services to families to ensure children’s safety in the home;
• removing children from their homes when that is necessary for children’s safety;
• supervising and administering payments for children placed in foster care;
• ensuring regular case review and permanency planning for children in foster care;
• helping children leave foster care to permanent families via reunification with parents or, when that is not possible, via adoption or legal guardianship;
• offering post-permanency services and supports to maintain families; and
• helping older children in foster care, and youth who leave care without placement in a permanent family, to become successful adults. ….

….This report begins with a discussion of the status of FY2017 appropriations, which had not been finalized as of early January 2017, and then reviews federal appropriations activity in FY2016. The remainder, and bulk, of the report provides brief descriptions of each federal child welfare program, including its purpose and recent (FY2012-FY2016) final funding levels……

K-3 Policymakers’ Guide to Action: Making the early years count

Source: Bruce Atchison, Emily Workman, Louisa Diffey, Education Commission of the States, ECS Policy Report, November 22, 2016

From the abstract:
This special report summarizes the top policy components 12 of the nation’s top content experts convened by Education Commission of the States prioritized for a high-quality K-3 system.

Child Care Costs Exceed 10 Percent of Family Income for One in Four Families

Source: Beth Mattingly, Andrew Schaefer, Jessica Carson, University of New Hampshire, Carsey School of Public Policy, National Issue Brief #109, Fall 2016

From the summary:
Access to quality, affordable child care is critical for American working families, and it is a major focus of efforts to bring about more family-friendly workplaces. In this brief, we analyze families’ child care expenses and identify, among families with young children (under age 6) who pay for child care, the share that are “cost burdened,” defined here as spending more than 10 percent of their gross income on child care. Using data from the 2012–2016 Current Population Survey, we present our findings by number of children; age of youngest child; parental characteristics; family income measures; and U.S. region, metropolitan status, and state. Unless otherwise noted, families include only those with children under age 6 who had any child care costs in the previous year…..

Key Findings:
• About one in four (26.8 percent, or 1.4 million) families with young children who have child care costs are “burdened” by the cost, spending more than 10 percent of family income on child care.
• Across families with young children, an average of 8.8 percent of family income is spent on child care.
• More than half (52.3 percent) of poor families with young children are cost burdened by child care, compared to 39.3 percent of low income families (those with incomes between one and two times the poverty threshold) and just 13.4 percent of families at or above five times the poverty threshold ($120,180 for two adults and two children in 2015).
• One in five married couples, and two in five single parents with young children and child care expenses, pay more than 10 percent of their income on these costs.
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New Research Finds Surprising Results When it Comes to Latino Participation in Early Care and Education: Public Policy Changes Appear to Pay Off, Attracting Hard to Reach Latino Groups

Source: National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families, Press Release, November 17, 2016

Three new reports from the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families offer a fresh snapshot of early care and education (ECE) program use among Hispanic families across the United States. They suggest that Latino families are more willing to enroll their children in ECE programs than ever before. Such programs can help prepare low-income children for kindergarten and future academic success. The briefs in the series include:
Hispanic Children’s Participation in Early Care and Education: Type of Care by Household Nativity Status, Race/Ethnicity, and Child Age
Hispanic Children’s Participation in Early Care and Education: Amount and Timing of Hours by Household Nativity Status, Race/Ethnicity, and Child Age
Hispanic Children’s Participation in Early Care and Education: Parents’ Perceptions of Care Arrangements, and Relatives’ Availability to Provide Care

A Lesson For Preschools: When It’s Done Right, The Benefits Last

Source: Elissa Nadworny, NPR, November 17, 2016

Is preschool worth it? Policymakers, parents, researchers and us, at NPR Ed, have spent a lot of time thinking about this question.

We know that most pre-kindergarten programs do a good job of improving ‘ specific skills like phonics and counting, as well as broader social and emotional behaviors, by the time students enter kindergarten. Just this week, a study looking at more than 20,000 students in a state-funded preschool program in Virginia found that kids made large improvements in their alphabet recognition skills.
So the next big question to follow is, of course, Do these benefits last?

New research out of North Carolina says yes, they do. The study found that early childhood programs in that state resulted in higher test scores, a lower chance of being held back in a grade, and a fewer number of children with special education placements. Those gains lasted up through the fifth grade.
Related:
Impact of North Carolina’s Early Childhood Programs and Policies on Educational Outcomes in Elementary School
Source: Kenneth A. Dodge, Yu Bai, Helen F. Ladd, Clara G. Muschkin, Child Development, Early View, November 17, 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
North Carolina’s Smart Start and More at Four (MAF) early childhood programs were evaluated through the end of elementary school (age 11) by estimating the impact of state funding allocations to programs in each of 100 counties across 13 consecutive years on outcomes for all children in each county-year group (n = 1,004,571; 49% female; 61% non-Latinx White, 30% African American, 4% Latinx, 5% other). Student-level regression models with county and year fixed effects indicated significant positive impacts of each program on reading and math test scores and reductions in special education and grade retention in each grade. Effect sizes grew or held steady across years. Positive effects held for both high- and low-poverty families, suggesting spillover of effects to nonparticipating peers.

Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, 2016

From the summary:
The Department of Labor’s annual Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor focuses on the efforts of certain U.S. trade beneficiary countries and territories to eliminate the worst forms of child labor through legislation, enforcement mechanisms, policies and social programs.

The Report presents:
– Findings on the prevalence and sectoral distribution of the worst forms of child labor in each country.
– Country-specific suggestions for government action (since 2009).
– Individual country assessments that identify where Significant, Moderate, Minimal, or No Advancement has been made (since 2011).

The Report serves as a resource to foreign governments, NGOs, academics and policymakers working on labor and human rights issues. It helps inform Congress and Executive Branch agencies that formulate labor and trade policy and is an important resource for the Department in assessing future technical assistance and research priorities as it seeks to combat child labor around the world.

The Department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) has published the Findings each year since 2002, as mandated by the Trade and Development Act of 2000 (TDA). The TDA requires that countries fulfill commitments to eliminate the worst forms of child labor to be eligible for certain U.S. trade preference programs. It also requires the U.S. Secretary of Labor to issue annual findings on beneficiary country initiatives to implement these commitments.
Related:
Report Magazine

Child Poverty, the Great Recession, and the Social Safety Net in the United States

Source: Marianne Bitler, Hilary Hoynes, Elira Kuka, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Early View, First published: 26 October 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
In this paper, we comprehensively examine the effects of the Great Recession on child poverty, with particular attention to the role of the social safety net in mitigating the adverse effects of shocks to earnings and income. Using a state panel data model and data for 2000 to 2014, we estimate the relationship between the business cycle and child poverty, and we examine how and to what extent the safety net is providing protection to at-risk children. We find compelling evidence that the safety net provides protection; that is, the cyclicality of after-tax-and-transfer child poverty is significantly attenuated relative to the cyclicality of private income poverty. We also find that the protective effect of the safety net is not similar across demographic groups, and that children from more disadvantaged backgrounds, such as those living with Hispanic or single heads, or particularly those living with immigrant household heads—or immigrant spouses—experience larger poverty cyclicality than those living with non-Hispanic white or married heads, or those living with native household heads with native spouses. Our findings hold across a host of choices for how to define poverty. These include measures based on absolute thresholds or more relative thresholds. They also hold for measures of resources that include not only cash and near-cash transfers net of taxes but also several measures of the value of public medical benefits.

Child Poverty, the Great Recession, and the Social Safety Net in the United States

Source: Marianne P. Bitler, Hilary Williamson Hoynes, Elira Kuka, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), NBER Working Paper No. w22682, September 2016
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
In this paper, we comprehensively examine the effects of the Great Recession on child poverty, with particular attention to the role of the social safety net in mitigating the adverse effects of shocks to earnings and income. Using a state panel data model and data for 2000 to 2014, we estimate the relationship between the business cycle and child poverty, and we examine how and to what extent the safety net is providing protection to at-risk children. We find compelling evidence that the safety net provides protection; that is, the cyclicality of after-tax-and-transfer child poverty is significantly attenuated relative to the cyclicality of private income poverty. We also find that the protective effect of the safety net is not similar across demographic groups, and that children from more disadvantaged backgrounds, such as those living with non-Hispanic black or Hispanic, single, or particularly immigrant household heads-or immigrant spouses, experience larger poverty cyclicality than non-Hispanic white, married, or native household heads with native spouses. Our findings hold across a host of choices for how to define poverty. These include measures based on absolute thresholds or more relative thresholds. They also hold for measures of resources that include not only cash and near cash transfers net of taxes but also several measures of medical benefits.